Drug Court offering offenders a chance to get clean and stay out - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Drug Court offering offenders a chance to get clean and stay out of jail

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Drug Court is an alternative to jail time for non-violent drug offenders. Drug Court is an alternative to jail time for non-violent drug offenders.

An unexpected award in Hopkins County is giving drug offenders a chance to kick their habit and stay out of jail.

Drug Court officials say they're seeing a success rate of roughly 85%, and one local woman says she's glad this money is going towards this program because it saved her life.

"I went to drugs for self medication and for self comfort," said Drug Court graduate Bonnie Young.

A few years ago, Bonnie was battling drug addiction. She ran into trouble with the law and she says thankfully she was accepted into Drug Court.

"It helped me get back on track to where I knew that I was supposed to be," she said.

Drug Court is an alternative to jail time for non-violent drug offenders.

Circuit Judge James Brantley says this grant money allows them to better assist participants with things like dental care, counseling, health care, and more.

"If a participant has a small child, they can't bring the child to Drug Court meetings," Judge Brantley said. "We can use this Drug Court money for child care."

Brantley says less than a five percent of individuals coming out of jail with a substance abuse problem stay clean.

He says they try to engage the participants into community events to help them through their recovery.

"It's not just substance abuse but it's re-routing people into part of society that they've never been a part of before and they're happy at the end of it that they are," Judge Brantley said.

"It puts you out there with a life vest until you learn to swim on your own," said Bonnie.

The Drug Court will be able to use this grant money for the next three years.

As for Young, she graduated from the program just over a year ago. Now she's finishing school, working, and raising a daughter.

"I still have everyday stress, but I get up every morning and I run those off with a few miles and I keep going because life today is perfect."

Judge Brantley says there's also a great savings with this program. The state spends about $3,500 per participant in drug court, and $30,000 to keep them in jail.

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