(a) The Legislature recognizes that a critical need exists in this state for the criminal justice system to more effectively address the number of defendants who are involved with substance abuse or addiction. For the criminal justice system to maintain credibility, court and community alternatives for the substance abuse and addiction involved defendant must be expanded. A growing body of research demonstrates the impact of substance abuse on public safety, personal health, and health care costs, the spread of communicable disease, educational performance and attainment, work force reliability and productivity, family safety, and financial stability. Requiring accountability and effective treatment, in addition to or in place of, conventional and expensive incarceration, will promote public safety, the welfare of the individuals involved, reduce the burden upon the State Treasury and benefit the common welfare of this state. The goals of this chapter are to do all of the following:

Terms Used In Alabama Code 12-23A-3

  • assessment: A diagnostic evaluation for placement in a treatment program which shall be performed in accordance with criteria certified by the Department of Mental Health, Substance Abuse Services Division. See Alabama Code 45-2-182
  • Defendant: In a civil suit, the person complained against; in a criminal case, the person accused of the crime.
  • drug: Includes all of the following:

    a. See Alabama Code 45-2-182

  • following: means next after. See Alabama Code 30-3D-608
  • recidivism: A subsequent conviction or plea of nolo contendere in this or any other state or federal court of the United States within three years of successful completion of, or termination from, drug court for any offense carrying a sentence of one year or more. See Alabama Code 45-2-182
  • screening: The process of gathering basic information to determine whether the offender meets established drug court eligibility criteria and shall include, but is not limited to, the current charge, a substance abuse evaluation, a brief questionnaire to determine if a risk or needs assessment is needed, and drug testing, and may include, but is not limited to, a substance abuse evaluation, risk assessment, or needs assessment. See Alabama Code 45-2-182
  • state: when applied to the different parts of the United States, includes the District of Columbia and the several territories of the United States. See Alabama Code 30-3D-608
  • substance: Drug as defined in subdivision (6). See Alabama Code 45-2-182
  • SUBSTANCE ABUSE: The illegal or improper consumption of a drug. See Alabama Code 45-2-182

(1) Enhance community safety and quality of life for citizens.

(2) Reduce recidivism.

(3) Reduce substance abuse.

(4) Increase the personal, familial, and societal accountability of drug offenders.

(5) Restore drug offenders to productive, law-abiding, and taxpaying citizens.

(6) Promote effective interaction and use of resources among criminal justice and community agencies.

(7) Reduce the costs of incarceration.

(8) Improve the efficiency of the criminal justice system by enacting an effective methodology.

(b) As a general proposition, all drug offenders should receive timely eligibility screening and, where indicated, assessment and the appropriate level of treatment. The criminal justice system should be used constructively to motivate drug offenders to accept treatment and engage in the treatment process.

(Act 2010-754, p. 1909, §3.)