Pubdate: Tue, 11 Sep 2007
Source: Albany Herald, The (GA)
Copyright: 2007 The Albany Herald Publishing Company, Inc.
Author: Carlton Fletcher


A Drug Education Program at the Dougherty County Jail Draws Raves 
 From County Commissioners.

ALBANY -- Noting the "overwhelming success" of the Dougherty County 
Jail's Controlled Substance Education Program in a report to the 
Dougherty County Commission Monday morning, Jail Director Doug 
McGinley provided some impressive numbers to back up his claim.

Calling attention to a 17 percent recidivism rate among graduates of 
the program during its five years of existence -- as compared to the 
typical 80 percent or above -- and $725,817 in "cost avoidance" as 
compared to $228,400 in actual costs, McGinley assured commissioners 
the six-week program delivers plenty of bang for the buck.

"I don't know if there's some kind of magic pill with this program," 
the jail director told the commission during its work session. "But 
this program is definitely working."

The commissioners read McGinley's message loud and clear.

"This commission looks at two things in particular: repeat offenders 
and return on costs," Chairman Jeff Sinyard said. "The numbers you've 
given us are very impressive."

Commissioner Jack Stone added, "I don't know where you'll get a 
better return. This program is definitely one of the best in the state."

McGinley noted in his report a cost to date of $181,000 in salary and 
benefits associated with the substance education program and $47,400 
in instructors' fees.  Using a formula of one day of credited time 
for each seven days of sentenced time for inmates who complete the 
program at a cost of $45 per day per inmate, the program has saved 
taxpayers $725,817 in cost avoidance since it was implemented in 2002.

"Some of the requirements of the program are that no maximum security 
inmates are eligible," McGinley said.  "The inmates cannot have any 
serious disciplinary problems, and they must have a history of using 
controlled substances, not selling them.

"Of the 924 who have completed the program, only 277 have returned to 
jail. And of those 277, only 110 have returned on drug-related charges."

Dougherty County Sheriff's Department Capt. Kevin Sproul also came 
before the commission to ask for $3,500 from the county's Drug Abuse 
Treatment and Education Fund for literature associated with the 
department's CHAMPS drug prevention program aimed at area fifth-graders.

"I applaud your prevention efforts," Commissioner Muarlean Edwards 
said. "As a former social worker, I know how important prevention 
programs are."

Commissioners also heard a report from Albany Code Enforcement 
Director Mike Tilson, whose presentation included updates on the 
department's "big three:" junk cars, weed lots and dilapidated structures.

Stone admonished Tilson for what he called "the ongoing mess at Mock 
Road and Moultrie Road." Stone complained about an unlicensed flea 
market-like business that had sprung up at the busy intersection months ago.

"Every time I call (code enforcement), it takes forever to get 
anything done," Stone said. "That problem out there at Mock Road and 
Moultrie Road has been going on for nine months to a year now, and I 
haven't seen anything done about it."

County Administrator Richard Crowdis, noting the small code 
enforcement staff tasked with covering the city and county, told 
Stone "with code enforcement, you're just overwhelmed."

Commissioner Chuck Lingle countered Stone's complaint with praise for 
Tilson and his staff.

"I'd like to present the flip side of Jack's comments," Lingle said. 
"I called code enforcement with a problem that one of my constituents 
brought to me, and the people I dealt with were courteous and 
professional.  They were very responsive; they got the problem solved."

Commissioners also discussed LRA Constructors' $825,725 bid for the 
Special-Purpose Local-Option Sales Tax V-funded Flint RiverQuarium 
theater-in-the-trees project; a one-day alcohol license for the 
annual Autumn Classic Horse Show kickoff party at the Potter 
Community Center; application for an alcohol license at the 
RoadRunner Store on Sylvester Road, and the commission's proposed 
Georgia Civic Awareness Program for Students. 
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake