Why we celebrate National Drug Court Month

When the Big Island Drug Court was established in 2002 under the leadership of retired Chief Judge Ronald Ibarra, I, like almost every other Hawaii County prosecutor at the time, was skeptical of the drug court concept. As prosecutors, our highest priority was public safety. Whenever a probationer tested positive for drugs or alcohol, our first response was to revoke probation and send that person to jail or prison. We thought the Drug Court was just a slap on the wrist.