Pubdate: Wed, 12 Jun 2002
Source: Daily Independent, The (KY)
Copyright: 2002 The Daily Independent, Inc.
Bookmark: (Drug Courts)
Bookmark: (Incarceration)
Bookmark: (Treatment)
Bookmark: (Drug Testing)


Greenup, Lewis Counties Receive Funds To Continue Effective Drug Court Program

Drug court, a rehabilitation program with an impressive record of success, 
is about to be expanded in Greenup and Lewis counties. Unfortunately, a 
drug court started as a pilot program in Boyd County could go into hiatus 
because of a lack of funding.

The 20th Judicial Circuit Court that serves Greenup and Lewis counties has 
received a $500,000 grant to make its pilot drug court program permanent. 
However, a similar program in Boyd County has not been funded, making its 
future uncertain.

For the past decade, the Administrative Office of Courts has been 
encouraging judges to initiate drug courts, and for good reason: They work. 
While first-time drug offenders placed on probation is Kentucky have a 
recidivism rate of 46 percent, only 4 percent of those who successfully 
complete drug court programs are charged with new crimes.

By using a carrot-and-stick approach, drug courts attempt to attack the 
crime problem by attacking the source of the problem instead of simply 
punishing the perpetrator of the crime.

The carrot is that drug users charged with crimes can avoid jail time if 
they go through an extensive drug treatment program. That includes 
attending a drug rehabilitation program, undergoing frequent drug tests, 
making regular appearances in court and being either gainfully employed or 
attending school and being a successful student.

The "stick" is that if they test positively for drug use or fail to 
complete other aspects of their program, the offenders - all of whom have 
been convicted - are sent to jail.

Drug courts save the state money. It costs an average of $14,691 to house 
an inmate in jail for a year, and only $2,642 to put an individual through 
drug court for a year.

However, more important that the money saved is the impact successful 
completion of drug court has on individual lives, turning those with 
serious drug problems - who have committed crimes to support their habits - 
into productive citizens.

Funding successful drug courts is an investment, not an expense.
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