TAIPEI (The China Post) – “We [judges] can provide guidance and advice on what drug courts should do, someone just has to do it,” says Hon. Christine Carpenter.
The former senior judge of the 13th circuit court in Missouri shared her powerful insight on the sidelines of the CTBC Anti-Drug Educational Foundation International Conference on June 13. She is visiting Taiwan to help establish drug courts and continue the fight against illegal substances.
Carpenter served as a drug court commissioner prior to her appointment as a circuit judge in 2010. Since her retirement on Aug. 31, 2017, she has traveled to Taiwan and other Asian nations to help create alternative sentencing programs through the non-profit organization National Association of Drug Court Professionals.
Best Practices of Drug Courts and Multiple Intervention Program
At this year’s CTBC conference, Carpenter was the first to speak at the “Best Practices of Drug Courts and Multiple Intervention Program.” She is here on behalf of her work with the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP), which has already worked with successful drug courts across the continental United States.
The NADCP started as an independent institution as drug court officials had more freedom around the United States. As drug courts started to gain popularity, other nations approached the United States for help in establishing similar legal systems.
The annual conference has allowed legislative, judicial, and business leaders around Taiwan to understand the best practices, how to provide the best training and to spread awareness on drugs, allowing one to provide research, data and to encourage the states to have better practices
Having attended the conference and participated actively by taking notes and supporting the conference generously, CTBC Anti-Drug Educational Foundation Chairman Jeffrey Koo Jr. has been a pioneer for better legal practices in Taiwan. His attentiveness has shown his willingness to have Taiwan adopt a similar drug court system as the United States in terms of drug courts.
Thus, in collaboration with the Drug Enforcement Agency, Carpenter was able to provide training and assistance to nations from all over the world. The training program took Carpenter to Taiwan on multiple accounts, with the first time being a visit to the Legislative Yuan where they met a legislator that was proposing a bill to establish a drug court.
In view of the serious problems caused by drug consumption in Taiwan, the CTBC Anti-Drug Educational Foundation held an international seminar on “Drug Courts and Diversified Practices” on June 12, inviting U.S. judicial and drug court experts to come to Taiwan to share best practices.
There were numerous exchanges between domestic scholars and experts, including Minister Without Portfolio Lo Ping-cheng (羅秉成), Minister of Justice Tsai Ching-hsiang (蔡清祥), Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), Deputy Minister of Justice Chang Tou-hui (張斗輝), CTBC Anti-Drug Educational Foundation Chairman Jeffrey Koo, CTBC Bank Head of Global General Administration Group Roger Kao (高人傑), and more than 300 guests.
Foundation Chairman Koo pointed out that in order to solve the social problems in Taiwan, the CTBC Bank has initiated a project aimed at helping addicts get their lives on track through baseball. By regaining the support of their families, they are able to regain confidence, dignity, and a sense of responsibility, as well as help other people.
The Right Court Model for the Right Criminal Justice System
Carpenter has been teaching how the state of Missouri operates its drug courts. She remarks that the “Drug court model is uniform, but every state has its own criminal justice system.”
In addition, they also visited drug treatment centers around Taiwan which featured classes to help criminals foster hobbies and fun activities while finding more effective ways to rehabilitate the offenders. Sometimes, the prison may be too insane, and the rehab needs to be under the supervision of the court, she said.
Ultimately, Carpenter does believe that drug courts will become more and more popular as seen through the increase in drug courts in Taiwan. Still, she believes that people should move from the question of “how to provide treatment to drug addicts so they don’t commit more crimes,” rather than “how can we stop drug addicts from committing crimes.”
In her opinion, it is essential that we combat the root cause of the issue rather than preventative measures.
As of now, the CTBC Anti-Drug Educational Foundation has become more and more active in the nation, becoming more interested in programs regarding the general welfare of children. They provide sports programs, educational programs, and alternative activities for children to set good examples and establish appropriate habits.
CTBC’s contributions have not gone unnoticed and will help transform Taiwan’s judicial system for the better. ●
By Natalie Scheidel, Douglas Lee, Derek Chan and Dimitri Bruyas