NH citizens divided on whether Manchester should have a drug court - 349 citizens, 714 responses

Jun 23, 2015

In several NH counties, drug courts provide non-violent offenders with opportunities for counseling and treatment while serving a sentence outside a jail cell. With dozens of officials and advocates testifying last month to urge lawmakers to fund a drug court in Manchester, the Live Free or Die Alliance (LFDA) asked Facebook members, “Should Manchester, NH have a drug court?”

A total of 60% of respondents answered the question directly or with a concurrence, and of these a 52% majority opposed a drug court in Manchester with 48% in favor. Of the remaining respondents, a significant 36% opted to discuss the subject in broader terms while 4% commented on unrelated issues. In sum, 349 citizens participated in the discussion with a total of 714 responses. 

For respondents of the majority opinion, many expressed concern at the cost. “Another court just for drugs is a complete waste of taxpayer money,” wrote one commenter. “Taxes are already too high and this would only exacerbate the problem and further retard economic growth.” Others questioned the overall effectiveness of drug courts, including a commenter who remarked, “Drug court doesn't work. People get sent there usually with probation and they usually end up back in jail.”

Those in favor of a Manchester drug court countered with arguments that drug courts in fact save money. As one gentleman said, “Drug court is far cheaper than housing and feeding people in jail.” Some noted they had personally seen drug courts work with one commenter citing direct experience. “It was the best thing that ever happened to me,” he said. “I grew up real quick as a younger man, and without it I would have been in and out of jail still.”

However, an unusually high percentage of respondents opted not to give a yes or no response to the question, instead discussing broader issues related to heroin and opiate abuse or advocating for the legalization of marijuana. Others expressed the need for society to take another look at how addiction is treated in general, including one gentleman who said, “I don't know about drug court, but there is a better solution than locking someone up that has a disease.”

Click here to read the full Facebook discussion of this question. 

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