IN THE FACE OF STATE AND LOCAL BUDGET CUTS, DRUG COURTS SAVE MONEY AND PROVIDE AN EFFECTIVE APPROACH TO DRUG ABUSE TREATMENT AND PROBATION
LEE COUNTY, VA– With local jail costs crippling the Lee County budget, social service and legal professionals are held a forum Friday to support the use of drug courts as an alternative to the existing expensive and ineffective justice and treatment system.
Advocates from the judiciary, prosecution, defense bar, probation, law enforcement, mental health, social service, and treatment communities gathered at the Mountain Empire Community College to educate the public on the benefit of Drug Courts and to encourage state Delegate Terry Kilgore to support the funding of a Drug Court in Lee County. Drug Courts are widely supported among the criminal justice and substance abuse treatment communities as an effective alternative to jail time and probation.
Rufus Bryant is a Recovery Coach with Lee County Behavioral Health and is a strong supporter of Drug Courts.
“As someone who is both in recovery and works with individuals in recovery I see Drug Courts as a great alternative to our current system. Our current system locks drug abusers up and does nothing to provide treatment and rehabilitation. Offenders get released from prison and go back and repeat the same behavior when they get out. I feel that people need to be treated for their substance abuse addiction and rehabilitated, not locked up at a great expense to the County,” Bryant said.
“Drug Courts save money and provide a rigorous treatment program with a great deal of accountability. Offenders are not let off the hook with the Drug Court system. They have to work hard at an intensive outpatient program. Instead of being locked up, they are actively involved with their treatment and rehabilitation. Drug Courts in other parts of the country have been very successful and I feel that Lee County needs to support this initiative,” added Bryant.
Dennis Lee, Commonwealth’s Attorney in Tazewell County spoke at the forum in support of Drug Courts.
“I have been working with young offenders for years and have seen an increase in the young drug-abuse offenders that go through the criminal justice system. What these young people need most is treatment and instead they end up in prison. Drug Courts provide a detailed treatment program and are the best shot an offender has at rehabilitation. Drugs Courts are the best change to come out of the system in years.” said Lee.