Drug court has become big success

By Judge Gary D. Fairman

Special to The Ely Times

The White Pine County Drug Court started in 2005 and in Lincoln County in 2013 in the Seventh Judicial District Courts. District Court Judges Steve L. Dobrescu and Gary D. Fairman preside over Drug Court. Judge Dobrescu was very instrumental in starting White Pine County’s Drug Court program.

Both courts have produced great success in changing behavior so that criminal offenders remain clean and sober and become productive residents of our communities.

Eligible drug-addicted persons may be sent to Drug Court in lieu of traditional justice system case processing including incarceration. Drug Courts keep individuals in treatment long enough for it to work, while supervising them closely.

For a minimum of 18 months, participants are provided with intensive treatment and other services they require to get and stay clean and sober.

Each person is held accountable by the Drug Court Judge for meeting their obligations to the court, society, themselves and their families. Regular and random drug tests are administered.

Each individual is required to appear in court frequently so that the judge may review their progress and they are rewarded for doing well or sanctioned when they do not live up to their obligation.

Drug courts are the most effective justice intervention for treating drug-addicted people. Drug courts reduce drug use and crime, save money, save children, reunite families and most importantly, restore lives.

In the Seventh Judicial District, 65 percent to 70 percent of Drug court graduates remain arrest free after leaving the program.

Rigorous nationwide studies examining long-term outcomes of individual Drug Courts have found that reductions in crime last at least three years and can endure for over fourteen years.

According to the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, for every dollar that is invested in Drug Court, taxpayers save as much as $3.36 in avoided criminal justice courts alone.

When considering other cost offsets such as savings from reduced victimization and healthcare service utilization, studies have shown benefits range up to $27 for every dollar invested.

Drug courts produce cost savings ranging from $3,000 to $13,000 per client. These cost savings reflect reduced prison costs, revolving-door arrests, trials and reduced victimization.

For methamphetamine-addicted people, Drug court increase program graduation rates by nearly 80 percent. When compared to eight other programs, Drug courts quadrupled the length of abstinence from methamphetamine.

Drug courts reduce methamphetamine use by more that 50 percent compared to outpatient treatment alone.

The White Pine County Drug Court has an average of 25-30 participants who, after successful completion, continue to reside in our community as productive citizens, good parents and good clean and sober employees.

Anyone interested in Drug Court is invited to attend Court on Mondays at 3:00p.m., at the courtroom of the White Pine County Courthouse.

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