The 21st District Court will have its first drug court session starting next week.
The process started about two years ago and has been spearheaded by District Judge Kendra Lewison. This specialty court is for those non violent offenders who have been sentenced to felony probation.
Community Corrections Director Shelly Williams says this specialty court makes sure people receive treatment rather than incarceration.
Williams says when this behavior is addressed consistently and quickly, behavioral changes will be reinforced faster. Those attending drug courts will have already been sentenced as part of their probation.
Williams says those sessions will start one week later and continue on a weekly basis.
In addition to weekly treatment and appointments, those involved will also have random drug testing two to three times a week. Random weekly curfew checks will also be implemented to try and hold individuals accountable in a real time fashion.
There are currently around 30 individuals in the community who would qualify for drug court supervision.
The two biggest costs associated with this specialty court are the defense council and treatment for a certain portion of the population. Williams says they are waiting to hear back on federal grants, which would give community corrections around $350,000 each.
Williams says this is an investment where the community is saving on jail and prison costs.
Several go live dates have been in place, but COVID restrictions have caused delays. However, the first session is planned for September 1st.