I'd heard about them but knew nothing about them.
The past couple of weeks I talked to the judges and staff who run Drug Courts and other problem solving courts in Nebraska. The people who have been through them have a lot to say too. They’re promoted as good for the participants, good for the community, and a bargain. The numbers in studies done both nationally and in Nebraska seem to back that up.
|They get a HUGE turnout when they hold Drug Court Graduations. (Photo: Lancaster Co. Court)|
people who volunteer to take part start out going back to court every week to
report back to the judge. It’s a weird
combination of being talked to by a parent, a psychologist, and a cop who
happens to be wearing a judge’s robe. Every
participant gets called up for a chat… in public, so there are no secrets.
- Only 5% of the people who graduate from a drug court program commit another crime within a year later. Compare that to 32% who re-offended after being released from a state prison.
- Even the people who wash out of the program are way less likely to commit a crime after they’ve been through part of the program. Only about 7 out of one hundred reoffend.
- Keeping someone in drug court is way cheaper than prison or county jail. Nebraska spends about $70 dollars a day on every prison inmate. It costs about $45 dollars a day to house and feed someone in a county jail. Someone in the Drug Court program costs between $20 to $40 a day. Individual drug courts around the state set up their own budgets.
- Participants may get a drug test two or three times a day. That can be at home, or work, or wherever one of the staff ask them to fill up the cup. About the worse thing a participant can do is try to cheat a drug test.