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Funding drug courts is the way to go

2014-04-14T00:00:00Z 2014-04-14T09:31:06Z Funding drug courts is the way to go The Billings Gazette
April 14, 2014 12:00 am

I see in the March 30 Gazette that there is a way to make life better for me as a taxpayer, better for people who are substance abusers and better for the population who has to deal with them.

The Gazette reported facts and research about the cost of addicted inmate offenders. Jail costs hugely more than when they are screened and connected to treatment programs in Billings!

The Community Crisis Center, with MarCee Neary as director, has been in place for almost eight years. The Center has proved that they can handle the continuing custody of addicted inmates. The Center collaborates with the detention system and also with the drug treatment programs.

We need ongoing, predictable financial support for this system that has proved that it works.

In the U.S. about 80 percent of inmates have substance involvement that landed them in jail. If only half of the people booked into the Yellowstone County jail in 2013 were abusing drugs, that would be 4,500 people!

More than half of criminal offenders are unemployed when they start Billings drug court treatment programs. Virtually all have jobs when they graduate.

I've lived one block away from the Center since they've been there, and I've never had better, more quiet, less intrusive neighbors. They know that Neary has rules.

I am appealing to my legislators to save my tax dollars by adequately funding drug courts, plus receiving a biennial budget request from the governor and the judiciary.

Diane B. Foley

Billings

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