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First Saline County Drug Court Class To Graduate

KSAL Staff - May 25, 2014 9:09 am

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Salina is preparing to graduate its first drug court class.
According to Saline County District Court Officials, the Saline County Drug Court will hold a graduation ceremony on June 9, 2014 at 2:00 PM at the Saline County Courthouse, courtroom 301. The Hon. Jared Johnson, District Court Judge, will deliver the keynote address. This ceremony is honoring the inaugural class of the Saline County Drug Court Program. The ceremony marks the graduate’s completion of an intensive program of comprehensive drug treatment, close supervision, and full accountability.
Like the more than 2,840 operational Drug Courts in the United States, the Saline County Drug Court is a judicially-supervised court docket that reduces correctional costs, protects community safety, and improves public welfare. In Drug Courts, seriously drug-addicted individuals remain in treatment for long periods of time while under close supervision. Drug Court participants must meet their obligations to themselves, their families, and society. To ensure accountability, they are regularly and randomly tested for drug use, required to appear frequently in court for the judge to review their progress, rewarded for doing well and sanctioned for not following through with their obligations. Research continues to show that Drug Courts work better than jail or prison, better than probation, and better than treatment alone.
The Saline County Drug Court Program began in January 2013 and started accepting clients the following month. District Court Judge Jared Johnson volunteered for the position of Drug Court Judge, recognizing the importance of addressing a specialized court docket involving drug dependant individuals. Intensive Supervision Officer Matthew Lange was named Drug Court Coordinator. It wasn’t long until the program experienced an exponential growth requiring the addition of Intensive Supervision Officer Andrew Pellant to help manage cases. Once our program began taking clients and reinforcing important key components of the drug court philosophy, including intense supervision, immediate accountability and comprehensive treatment strategies, it wasn’t long before a positive impact was being felt.
The Saline County Drug Court is in its infancy stage, but already they are seeing substantial results with data to prove it.
In 2013, participants in the Saline County Drug Court program spent an average of 1.21 days in jail. Compare this to SB123 non-drug court probationers on supervision with our agency who spent an average of 2.8 days in jail during the same time period. So for every day a drug court participant spends in jail, a SB123 non-drug court probationer spends more than twice that amount of time in jail.
Drug testing is an important component of the Saline County Drug Court program and is vital in ensuring accountability towards recovery and compliance with the program. From January 2014 through March 2014, active drug court participants reported for drug testing at a rate of 93.4%, compared to a reporting rate of 55.4% from non-drug court probationers. During that same time frame, only 4% of active drug court participant’s Urinary Analysis (UA) samples were positive for illegal substances, compared to 7% of non-drug court probationers. The 4% positive UA rate for drug court participants is more accurate because of the high reporting rate. With only a reporting rate of 55.4% from non-drug court probationers, a reasonable conclusion can be made that the 7% positive UA rate for this group would be substantially higher if the reporting rate was greater.
It is important to acknowledge drug addiction affects us on every social level. It is not just a police problem, a probation problem or a jail/prison problem. Drug addiction is a community problem which requires an integrated solution.
According to Community Corrections Director Annie Grevas, “In all of the years I’ve been doing this, our drug court program has been the most effective dealing with drug addicts. I believe our success is a combination of client determination and the trust they build with each member of the drug court team.”

City of Salina