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Exporting Court Innovation From the United States to Continental Europe: Compatibility Between the Drug Court Model and Inquisitorial Justice Systems

NCJ Number
International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice Volume: 34 Issue: 1 Dated: Spring 2010 Pages: 139-172
E. Rely Vilcica; Steven Belenko; Matthew Hiller; Faye Taxman
Date Published
34 pages
This study examined the possibility of using American-style drug courts in European countries with inquisitorial justice systems.
This paper explores the viability of the adoption of the American drug court model by European countries relying on inquisitorial justice systems, by focusing on the compatibility between key features of each. Discussion of the key features of the European inquisitorial systems focuses on their underlying ideologies and values. Discussion of the key features of the American drug courts is informed by data from a comprehensive nationwide survey of drug courts (the National Drug Court Survey). The preference for rehabilitative goals, the very active judicial role of the judge, and the collaboration between defense and prosecution in inquisitorial systems are identified as elements highly conducive to the importation of drug courts. Treatment integration and the relative (in) flexibility to establish a legal framework for the operation of drug courts are identified as challenges to potential importation. Overall, there is a great deal of compatibility between key features of the drug courts in the United States and key features of the inquisitorial systems of most European countries. This makes the adoption of drug courts in Europe a potentially viable response to illegal drug use and drug-related crime. Tables, notes, references, and appendix (Published Abstract)