Well did you know that a special court designed to divert young offenders from prison has been quietly shut down by the NSW government.
The Drug Court was closed on the 1st of July after 12 years of operation. It was designed to give offenders aged between 14 and 18 a chance to avoid going to jail. In other words, it was intended to stop these kids starting down the road to serious crime.
The government questioned its effectiveness, but the Salvation army have come out hitting. Their general manager, John Drew, said this: “The government is not being honest about the reasons for closing the court, I think the reason is budget cuts.”
Well that wouldn’t surprise me at all. The Drug Court cost about 4-million dollars a year to run. Now sure, the number of kids who went through it was small – only about 20 a year. But what price do you put on giving a kid a new life?
And just think about this. It costs well over 50-thousand dollars a year to keep someone in jail. And with the recidivist rates in NSW among the highest in the nation you can see how keeping only 20 kids a year out of jail has got to be a good thing financially.
Do you Support Barry O’Farrell’s decision to close the drug court. Was it a waste of money? Do you think it was a soft option for offenders who really need some tough justice?