The University of Sydney’s Matilda Centre welcomes the announcement of a new Drug Court in Dubbo. The regional ‘specialist’ court will join its counterparts in Parramatta, Toronto and Sydney CBD in addressing the underlying drug dependency that has led to the criminal behaviour and providing a more productive alternative to jailtime.
Attorney General Mark Speakman SC MP made the announcement today following recommendations from the NSW Inquiries into the Drug ‘Ice’ and First Nations deaths in custody.
Professor Maree Teesson, Director of the University of Sydney’s Matilda Centre commends the announcement:
The NSW government should be congratulated on their innovation in establishing a leading drug court in Dubbo. We know that there is a high rate of drug dependence related crime in rural and regional areas so it makes sense that we have Drug Courts where they are most needed.
In a submission to the NSW Inquiry into the Drug ‘Ice’, researchers from the Matilda Centre highlighted that the “use of methamphetamine, including ice, is twice as high in regional and rural/remote communities compared to metropolitan areas in Australia and NSW.”
The establishment of the Dubbo Drug Court will address some of the recommendations in the submission around making rural and regional areas a priority.
NHMRC Emerging Leadership Fellow, Forensic Psychologist and Matilda Centre Program Lead in Trauma and Crime Research, Dr Emma Barrett, looks to the links between drug use and crime:
NSW Drug Courts aim to reduce reoffending by addressing the underlying problem of drug dependence. Evidences suggests that by prioritising treatment, we can reduce the likelihood of reoffending.
The Matilda Centre is contributing to research in this area with current PhD student, Clara Fritchley, leading an evaluation of the NSW Drug Courts under the supervision of Dr Barrett.