In their eight years of operation, drug courts have saved millions of dollars, cut recidivism and transformed the lives of thousands of nonviolent offenders by helping them keep away from substance abuse, the Administrative Office of the Courts says in a report released Tuesday.

Drug court — a voluntary, therapeutic alternative to prison — is “a reflection of the changing role of the courts in the area of therapeutic jurisprudence, where judges act as post-adjudication change agents by leading this multi-disciplinary team of professionals,” the AOC says in A Model for Success — A Report on New Jersey’s Adult Drug Courts . “The personal intervention of the judge in the offenders’ lives is a major factor.”

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