Grants Awarded to Thurston County Therapeutic Court Programs.
OLYMPIA - Thurston County's DUI/Drug Court Program, overseen by Superior Court Judge Gary R. Tabor, has been awarded two separate Federal Grants and one State Grant. The state grant will support the continuation of the DUI Court Program for an additional 5 months; the federal grants will allow the county to expand and enhance program capacity and services and to work collaboratively with the other Adult Therapeutic Court Programs in the county.-30-
According to Ellen Goodman, Program Administrator of the DUI/Drug Court Program, the county received $197,029 from the federal U. S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance. The two-year grant will allow DUI/Drug Court to increase program capacity by 20%; provide trauma treatment to participants in the Mental Health and Veterans' Court Programs; implement centralized Urinalysis Testing Services for all Adult Therapeutic Court Programs and enhance and expand the data collection system.
The county also received $970,607 from the federal Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The goals for this three-year grant are the continuation of the DUI Court Program; to expand the number of DUI participants for a total of 38; to hire a Case Manager and a Licensed Mental Health Counselor; to implement a Family Program; and to extend the Integrated Trauma Treatment Program to the DUI Court participants.
The Washington Traffic Safety Commission awarded the county, DUI Court $65,000 to continue that program for an additional 5 months. The goals are to enhance public safety through a rigorous, court-supervised comprehensive treatment program for "high risk", repeat DUI offenders. The program integrates substance abuse treatment with participant accountability by enhanced supervision, court appearances and random urinalysis and breathalyzer testing.
The goals of these grants include reducing the number of repeat offenders, increasing program retention, decreasing relapse rates, providing evidence-based treatment that reduces court, jail and prison overcrowding and associated costs in the criminal justice system.
BACKGROUND- The Drug Court Program started in May 1998 and allows approved felony defendants to have their charges dismissed by voluntarily entering into treatment for 12 - 18 months and successfully completing the rigorous requirements by complying with the strict rules and procedures. Violent offenders are not eligible for the program. According to Ms. Goodman, the program has now graduated 362 participants, has saved $4,642,274 in the costs of incarceration and has resulted in 24 drug free babies being born at a savings of $6,000,000. The program has a 12% recidivism rate, reunites families and helps people to become productive members of the community. The DUI Court Program began in July 2008 and admits eligible DUI misdemeanor offenders into the program on a voluntary basis. Unlike the Drug Court Program, participants must plead guilty to their charge and are involved in treatment for 18 - 24 months. If they successfully complete the program, their charge does not get dismissed and currently, 9 participants have graduated from the DUI Court Program.
Goodman continues to seek other funding sources to continue the new program enhancements and to maintain the increased program capacity after the federal grants expire in three years, though there is no federal requirement to do so. Goodman says she is very happy about being able to enhance program services that have been needed for quite some time and to be able to build collaboration between the county's different treatment courts. "The greater community will benefit in countless ways because of these improvements," she said.