Drug Court Presentation Given; Resolution Passed by Commissioners’ Court

Staff Writer

Judge Glen Harrison gave a presentation on the need for a Drug Court as he had given in November. Giving a detailed presentation, as there were two new Commission members. President Nixon had declared war on drugs in 1971. Federally, the country has been doing a good job on those buying and selling, as twenty-five per cent of the world’s prison population are in jail because of drugs. Eighty-percent of these have used drugs and alcohol and fifty percent of these prisoners are hooked and addicted. Given the rise of opioids, the country has been losing the war on illegal narcotics, as a whole. Imprisonment as a punishment has effect in only three out of four cases. Sixty to eighty percent of the prisoners getting out become repeat offenders and go right back in. Approximately ninety-five percent return to drugs. The Drug Court program is not a forgiveness program or hug-a-thug type of program. Recidivism for offenders is high on society and on economics. Seventy-eight percent of all drug offenders remain drug and arrest free after graduating the program. Statistically,. for ever $1 spent, it costs $2.21 in criminal justice costs and for every $1 spent on healthcare, there is $27 spent on reduced healthcare and victimization. Not every offender is eligible and fifteen to twenty percent wash out of the program. Those who have been convicted of violent crimes or sex offenders are not eligible for this program. If one is a non-resident of Nolan county, then they are not eligible. It is a fact that drug courts save tax dollars and for Nolan County, it would be all volunteer. Nolan County spent $241,000 on attorneys fees alone for a two year period. Child Protective Services are $154,506 per year in regard to drug-related cases. CPS would provide counseling. There are other public partnerships that have offered to help in this program. Judge Harrison requested $30,000 to start and that emergency funds should be used. After some lively debate and difference of opinion, the Commissioners approved the resolution to lay the ground work for the creation of the Nolan County Drug Court.
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