WV Supreme Court Gets Federal Grant for Drug Courts - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

WV Supreme Court Gets Federal Grant for Drug Courts

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CHARLESTON, WV -

West Virginia has received a $1.48 million, three-year federal grant to study adult drug practices and the results as a part of the plan to expand the programs throughout the state.

The grant also will be used for specialized training.

The funds come from the United States Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs, and the award will go to the West Virginia Supreme Court's Administrative Office.

The award is one of 12 nationwide, and also is the single largest award this year.

"Drug courts have proven to be a successful alternative to incarceration, making West Virginia communities safer, restoring families and helping graduates of the program live responsibly," Chief Justice Brent Benjamin said in a news release. "Already this year we have well over 600 graduates, taxpayers have saved $17 million and the rate of recidivism is down."

West Virginia has 20 operational drug courts in West Virginia along with 16 juvenile drug courts.

Adult and juvenile drug courts are intensive supervision probation programs, and juvenile drug court participants usually take part in the program for six to eight months. Juvenile drug court is intended for youths who are at risk of becoming addicted rather than those who already are addicted.

Adult drug courts include individuals who already are addicted, and participants complete a treatment program of no less than 12 months. Participants are required to attend group and individual counseling, to take drug tests multiple times per week, to perform community service work, to participate in education programs and to work on customized rehabilitation plans as directed.

The average annual cost incurred by the state for one adult drug court participant is approximately $7,100 compared to $18,000 in jail or $25,000 in prison, according to the court. About 10 percent of drug court graduates return to jail, compared to 80 percent of drug offenders who have not gone through drug court programs.