Lawmakers looking for ways to save money for the state hear Missouri’s top judge tell them they should spend some to save more.  

State supreme court chief justice Ray Price says the goal is to have the safest Missouri possible and to make the most efficient use of taxpayer money.  He says drug courts are a prime example.

He says there are 3,000 people in Missouri’s 84 drug courts.  As he puts it, “That’s two prisons we haven’t had to build.”

Price says the biggest problem is that the courts are not fully funded. He says the supreme court gets requests for twice as much money as it has available.  

He says studies show drug courts are far more effective in treating people’s addictions than programs people go through once they’re sent to prison.

 Price testifies before committee 10:09 mp3