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Washington drug court's new approach: Community service instead of jail time

from The Daily News

It used to be that participants in Cowlitz County's Drug Court program were almost sure to go to jail when they messed up. If they used drugs, a judge sent them to the lockup for a few days or more. The same was true if they skipped group therapy sessions or other activities required by the program, which gives addicts accused of non-violent felonies a chance to erase the charges and get clean. Now, drug court officials are trying something different. Participants who stray from the program's strict rules are often assigned community service hours instead of jail time. The reason is that volunteer work has proven far more effective than incarceration in motivating addicts and teaching them life skills, said Debbie Garvin, the program's coordinator. more

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