Monday, March 7, 2011

Keneally opens state's second drug court

SMH, 7 March 2011:
NSW Premier Kristina Keneally has opened the state's second Drug Court and promised a third if Labor wins the March election.
Ms Keneally today opened a Drug Court in Toronto, in the seat of Lake Macquarie in the Hunter region, citing the success of the original court which is based in western Sydney.
She said if re-elected, the government would spend $6.3 million on a third court at the Downing Centre justice precinct in central Sydney.
"A drug court in Sydney's east would provide full coverage for the metropolitan area," she said in Toronto, the first stop on her three-day bus tour of the Hunter.
"The people who have gone through the drug court process overwhelmingly have gotten their lives back, gotten themselves back on track, become productive members of society and kicked their drug habits.
"If we can break an offender's dependence on drugs, we can help them break the drug crime cycle and reduce the overall rates of offending."
The western Sydney court, opened in 1999, has diverted thousands of drug-dependent offenders into treatment programs, with more than 50 per cent not returning to jail, she said.
Ms Keneally's announcement came after the opposition promised a second drug court for the Sydney area.
Ms Keneally also announced a call for tenders for a $94 million justice precinct in Newcastle, which will replace the city's ageing courts with a new 10-court complex.

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