In celebration of “National Drug Court Month” the 12th Circuit Treatment Court held a proclamation signing on May 4, at 9:15 am at the Audrain County Courthouse in the Commissioner Chamber. The ceremony marked the support of a program that requires the completion of an intensive program of comprehensive drug treatment, close supervision, and full accountability for individuals who are struggling with addiction.
‘National Drug Court Month’ is coordinated on a national level by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP). This year, Drug Courts throughout the nation are celebrating National Drug Court Month with the theme: “Drug Courts Save.”
The support of the County Commissioners and Presiding Circuit Judge Wesley Dalton is evidence of the tremendous impact the 12th Judicial Circuit Treatment Court has had on our community and will send a powerful message that Drug Courts save lives and critical resources.
Today, more than 2,900 Drug Courts are in operation in all fifty states and U.S. territories successfully treating 142,000 drug-addicted individuals a year. Since 1989, Drug Courts have saved over 1.3 million lives and billions of tax dollars. “Drug Courts demonstrate that a combination of accountability and treatment can transform the lives of seriously addicted offenders,” said Chris Deutsch of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals. “By treating our chronically addicted offenders in Drug Court, we can save vast amounts of money, protect public safety, reunite families and significantly reduce crime and drug abuse in the community.”
Like the more than 2,900 operational Drug Courts in the United States, the Audrain County Treatment Court Program is a judicially-supervised court docket that reduces correctional costs, protects community safety, and improves public welfare.
“Today’s treatment courts are a way to protect our community through high-level monitoring, accountability and reinforcing positive behaviors,” said Audrain County Prosecuting Attorney Jacob Shellabarger. “Individuals who make it through our program are building resiliency and developing into positive citizens, family members and contributors to the community. We’re using local resources to treat local issues.”
In Drug Courts, seriously drug-addicted individuals are in treatment for long periods of time while under close supervision. Drug Court participants must meet their obligation to themselves, their families, and the community. To ensure accountability, they are regularly and randomly tested for drug use, required to appear frequently in court for Associate Circuit Judge Michael Wright to review their progress, rewarded for doing well and sanctioned for not living up to their obligations. Research continues to show that Drug Courts work better than jail or prison, better than probation, and better than treatment alone.
Drug Courts are this nation’s most effective strategy at reducing recidivism among seriously drug addicted, nonviolent offenders with long criminal histories.
Nationally, 75% of individuals who complete Drug Court are not re-arrested.
Drug Courts save up to $13,000 for every individual they serve and return as much as $27 for every $1 invested.
Since 2004, the 12th Judicial Circuit Treatment Court Program has accepted 248 individuals into the program and currently has a graduation rate of 60%.
Christie Becker-Markovich, the program circuit administrator states, “for the 40% who have either been terminated, withdrew from the program or received an administrative discharge, we still have hope; for every time an individual who is suffering from addiction is touched by treatment in some form, it increases their chances in beating this disease when they are ready to fight.
And they will know where their resources are and where their family in recovery can be found.”