CICAD: Institutional Strengthening


CICAD: Institutional Strengthening


CICAD: Institutional Strengthening


CICAD: Institutional Strengthening


CICAD: Institutional Strengthening


CICAD: Institutional Strengthening


CICAD: Institutional Strengthening


CICAD: Institutional Strengthening



Alternatives to incarceration, including drug treatment courts, are designed for criminal offenders who have an underlying substance abuse disorder driving their criminal conduct. These programs provide them with the option of choosing treatment and rehabilitation under judicial supervision instead of incarceration.

By focusing on the treatment of the underlying substance abuse disorder, these programs address the underlying cause of the criminal conduct rather than the symptoms.  As such, alternatives to incarceration can help break the "revolving door" of criminal behavior, substance abuse, and imprisonment.

Drug treatment courts are the most researched of these alternatives, representing one of the most studied aspects of the criminal justice system. Decades of empirical studies show that, when implemented correctly, they:

            (1)    Reduce criminal recidivism;

            (2)    Lower costs to the criminal justice system; and

            (3)    Improve outcomes for participants (including better relationships with their families and


These programs generally employ a multi-sector approach, combining expertise from the criminal justice system, public health, and social reintegration services.  As such, they often also stimulate collaboration between those sectors more broadly.

This approach is consistent with the 2010 CICAD Hemispheric Drug Strategy, which recommends addressing substance abuse disorders as a chronic, relapsing disease that should form a core element of public health policy.  The OAS, through the Executive Secretariat pf the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (ES-CICAD) of the Secretariat for Multidimensional Security, has accordingly been working to promote drug treatment courts and similar judicially-supervised treatment alternatives to incarceration in the Americas.

Since 2008, ES-CICAD has worked with fifteen member states on exploring, designing, implementing, and/or evaluating alternatives to incarceration, and welcomes the opportunity to support other countries interested in promoting and/or consolidating this innovative approach.

updated on 11/15/2020 11:21:51 PM