ESCANABA — A fledgling court in the Upper Peninsula recently received a little bit of a financial boost.
The Sobriety Court in Delta County was awarded $30,000 by the Michigan Drug Court Grant Program. Organizers say the money will be used in part to help ease the workload on probation officers.
“Part of drug court is rigorous drug testing,” said Judge Steve Parks of the 94th District Court in Delta County. “So we’re drug testing participants up to fifteen times a month, and so that takes a lot of time and effort. So what we’re able to do with [these] drug court monies is to hire somebody in probation that will allow them to pick up some of the work that would ordinarily be done by our regular probation officers so they can be more committed to their drug court activities.”
This grant was a portion of over $10 million distributed throughout the state for the coming fiscal year to support these types of programs. Supporters of sobriety court programs believe that a little money spent initially could save a lot for taxpayers in the long run.
“People have seen from both sides of the political aisle that this saves money,” Judge Parks added. “This curbs recidivism. You’re talking about high risk, high need repeat offenders. If you can address the core — the root of their problem — the drug addiction so that they’re not repeating their criminal activity which could range from shoplifting, home invasion, to continued use of drugs, then you’re saving money not only in terms of law enforcement, emergency service, but jail.”
Delta County’s Sobriety Court is one of over seventy such courts currently operating in the State of Michigan.