Missouri’s drug courts just graduated their ten thousandth participant. Chief Justice Ray Price says it’s another mark of a system that truly works. He says drug courts help those headed down the wrong path turn their lives around, and in the end, save the state money by keeping them out of the prison system.
Price says there are some individuals that belong in prison and cannot be reformed. But he says bringing the state’s recidivism rate down depends on putting resources into those who can.
Missouri’s drug courts were implemented in the early ’90s to provide treatment-based alternatives to prison, juvenile detention, jail and probation. Price says the criminal justice system works with treatment systems to give offenders the tools necessary to get into recovery, stay in recovery, and lead a productive, crime-free life.
Price says 74 percent of Missouri’s inmate population is connected to drug abuse. Alternatively, those who have graduated Missouri’s drug courts have lived up to their promises, put in the hard work and have taken control over their lives.
Price says he continues to work with Dept. of Corrections Director George Lombardi, Gov. Nixon, legislators and others to ensure the program gets the bi-partisan support it needs. He says he believes Misouri’s going to have an intense review of its correctional facilities and he and others plan to go before the legislature next year.
The most metropolitan and the most rural areas of the state have drug court programs, according to Missouri Courts.
The first drug courts were aimed at the adult population in a response to increasing crime rates and prison overcrowding, the courts say. Adult drug courts were so successful in intervention and change in the lives of adult offenders, juvenile courts decided the drug court program could work for juvenile offenders as well. Juvenile drug courts have gained in popularity and now include family drug courts that deal primarily with abuse and neglect cases.