The attorney general has reiterated the state government's support of a rehabilitative program for criminal drug addicts, but stopped short of pledging to expand the program.
Following publicity of the success of a long-term drug addict in the program, attorney general and minister for justice Elise Archer said the program can reduce rates of reoffending in participants.
A participant known only as Steven graduated from the program this year, having been assisted to take control of a 30-year addiction to drugs including methamphetamine.
"The court mandated diversion program... is a very important and effective sentencing tool in appropriate cases as it has the potential to reduce recidivism, while helping people in need address their addictions and turn their lives around," Ms Archer said.
With the prospect of six months in jail hanging over his head, Steven, a single father of three, completed the program in 12 months, while starting a small business and not returning a single positive drug test.
"I'll never go back to drugs. Where I am in life now, I've always wanted to be but never could get there," he said.
North-West Magistrate Tamara Jago runs the program, and said to Steven during his graduation that if he had been jailed he would not have been rehabilitated.
"It also helps to alleviate pressure on the prison system by allowing people to address their substance abuse issues in the community, as an alternative sentencing option to imprisonment," Ms Archer said.
"This allows for an offender to remain in employment where applicable, [and] provide for themselves and their family... an obvious benefit to them and the community."
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