The intended MERIT program outcomes for participants and for the community are:
- decreased offending behaviour
- decreased drug use
- improved health and social functioning
- increased community protection
- sentences that reflect the improved rehabilitation prospects of successful MERIT participants.
Eligibility is determined by the Magistrate. To be considered eligible for MERIT, defendants must satisfy the following criteria.
The defendant must:
- be an adult
- be eligible for release on bail or not require bail consideration1
- voluntarily agree to participate in MERIT
- be suspected of using drugs or be known to have a history of drug use.
The defendant must not:
- be charged with sexual offences or have like offences pending before the court
- be charged with a strictly indictable offence or have like offences pending before the court.
Agreement to become involved in the MERIT program is not an admission of guilt of the offences for which the client has been charged. Participation in MERIT is generally prior to any pleas being made, with the adjournment of court matters until completion of the program.