The Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment (AODT) Courts provide an alternative to imprisonment for those whose offending is driven by addiction to alcohol or other drugs, and who would otherwise continue to cycle untreated through the criminal justice system.
Recognising that incarceration of those with addictions has no appreciable impact on future behaviours, the AODT Courts provide an intensively monitored, comprehensive treatment-focused pathway through which offenders can address their addiction and other drivers of their offending behaviours. Described as ‘transformative’ in its effects, the AODT Court model is informed by the principles of therapeutic jurisprudence and evidence-based best practice.
There is an urgent need to address Aotearoa New Zealand’s high rates of incarceration, in which Māori are disproportionately represented. The AODT Courts provide a promising alternative for those offenders who meet its criteria. Not only may community safety be improved, but individuals are supported towards addressing their needs and realising their potential.