12 Jun 2021

New court aimed at offenders with substance abuse problems

9:58 am on 12 June 2021

The government is hailing the opening of a third Alcohol and Drug Court as a way to improve offenders' lives.

Hamilton District Court

The new court will be part of the Hamilton District Court. Photo: RNZ

Courts Minister Aupito William Sio has this morning announced a new Waikato Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Court, in addition to two Auckland ones, central and Waitākere.

Sio said the courts are for people whose offending and substance abuse are intertwined - and to break that cycle.

He said that the courts still impose sentences but offer treatment, monitoring, drug testing and mentoring.

"New Zealanders have told us they want a justice system that treats people with dignity and enables wellbeing," Sio said.

He said the new court's aim is to address the reasons behind the abuse of alcohol and other drugs and offending.

"Within two years of graduating from the court, participants were less likely to offend, less likely to be in prison, and less likely to be involved in police. And where there was subsequent offending, [it was] really for less serious offences. That's strong evidence for this court."

It will be at the Hamilton District Court.

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