The Magistrates Early Referral Into Treatment (MERIT) program aims to break the cycle of drug use and crime by addressing the health and social welfare issues believed to contribute to people coming into contact with the criminal justice system
MERIT is a pre-plea scheme based in NSW local courts. Participation is voluntary and does not require an admission of guilt. MERIT participants are not required to be drug dependent, but must have a drug problem that influences their offending behaviour. MERIT offers drug treatment within a harm minimisation framework.