Drug abuse is becoming a serious menace deeply rooted within our society. It is fast claiming the lives of many and is continuing to be the causes of many societal ills. The rise of drug abuse, therefore, calls for a dire need for interventions to manage and control it. One of the ways that offer a possible solution as stated earlier is the use of drug courts. Drug courts are special courts that solely deal with drug offenses. Research has shown that they can reduce drug and substance abuse significantly. However, drug courts are facing the challenge of lack of enough resources. A good way of resolving this is through effective budget allocation. This paper is, therefore, an annual line budget proposal for drug courts estimated for the whole nation. The analysis also encompasses comparison of the future allocation and the current allocation.
The Drug court is a rare court with very few human resources. The current education also does not encompass drug court judges as specialists in the judicial system. For this case, existing judges would have to offer their services based on either being full-time judges or simply part-time judges (Belenko, 2014). For a whole year, the budget allocation that will pay part-time judges is estimated at $245 million, while the full time is at $320 million. This will be an addition of $160 million and $141 million on part-time and full-time judges as per the current allocation. The inclusion of office staff and parole staff is estimated at $500 million which is a 27.3 % increase on the current allocation and $456 million, a 47.5 % increase respectively. The presence of special drug parole officers will be very instrumental in the reduction of the drugs out of the streets.
Being a rare field in the judicial system with very few structures that separates it from other types of courts there is little information on how the whole system works. There is, therefore, the need to offer some sort of training on the judges, office staff, and the parole officers. This is important in ensuring the worker's experience conforms to that required by the provisions of the drug courts. The education training program for judges nationwide will cost about $95million while that for both the parole officers and the office staff will cost about $314million. It is also important to note that the education program is not inclusive of the introduction of drug law courses in learning institutions which will also be effective in the production of competent judges and lawmakers in the field. The resources and the equipment that will be needed for the education training program, in this case, are estimated to be $230 million.
The court administration of the drug courts will be an important element in the success of the drug courts, the current estimation for the court administration once again has not been enough. The current allocation for drug offense departments is estimated at $57million for the probation department, $175 for court administration. For the government to make court departments effective in battling drug and substance abuse, the budget allocation will have to increase close to 4 times the current allocation. For court administration future budget allocation is at $622 million, probation department at $235 million whereas the criminal court department allocation is estimated at $400 million. The three departments are key departments of the drug department. Many states have no probation department that is made specifically for drugs; the probation department will, therefore, have to be included in the most of these courts.
Equipment and Resources
Equipment and resources are also essential elements in ensuring the successful drug court system in the war against drug and substance abuse. Most of the courts lack adequate equipment to carry out their mandate of keeping drugs out of the streets (Baar, 2015). Some of the important equipment and resources include vehicles, construction of adequate courts, additional offices and equipment among others. Although the current allocation has met most of the needs of the court offices and operations with regards to the equipment and the resources, it will not be enough in the future.
The current budget allocation for office equipment that is specifically directed towards the drug department is at $96 million. The money is perceived to be used mostly in general office equipment which does not augur well with the needs of the drug courts. For example, the need for an integrated drug offense information system requires their kind of computers which cannot be operated effectively with other types of court systems. The estimated budget allocation for office equipment heading forward is at 175 million. The money should be used exclusively in buying equipment that is meant for drug monitoring offenses, conviction, and administration of the offices, for example, drug parole vehicles among others.
The other challenge that is facing effective use of the drug courts in battling of drug offenses is the few existing courts to serve various drug offenses. Through the construction of many or an adequate number of drug courts will address this problem. Taking the case of the United States, at least three drug courts should be constructed in different states. There is no current budget allocation for this program, therefore, will be a new program. The budget allocation for this program is estimated $ 615 million. Construction of these drug courts will be very important in dealing with any offenses related to drugs.
In conclusion, Budgeting is an important element in project development. Just as illustrated in this paper the drug court has been ineffective in delivering its services because of poor budget allocation and financial challenges. The current budget allocation has not been effective in the smoothing operation of the courts. Effective budgeting in areas such as department, employment of human resources, equipment, resources, and training of staff will be very effective in ensuring the issue of drug and substance abuse is reduced significantly. Below is the overview of the line item budget for the drug courts.
Current Allocation Future Budget Allocation
Part time extra judges $85 million $245 million
Full-time Extra judges $179 million $320million
Increased nonjudges staff (office staff) $ 398.6million $500 million
Drug offense parole officers $ 309 million $ 456 million
Total $ 971.6million $1.521 billion
Judges $34 million $95 million
Office staff and parole officers $117 million $314 million
Equipments and resources $ 178 million $230 million
Total $329 million $630 million
Departments Court administration $175miilion $622 million
Probations $57 million $235million
Criminal court $314million $400 million
Total $546 million $1.257 billion
Equipment and Resources Office equipment and resources $96 million $175million
Drug courts constructions $0 $615million
Total $96 million $ 790 million
Baar, C. (2015). Separate but subservient: Court budgeting in the American states. Lexington, MA: Lexington Books.
Belenko, S. (2014). Research on drug courts: A critical review. National Drug Court Institute Review, 1(1), 1-42.
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