By Matt de Simone
Last spring, Botetourt County Commonwealth’s Attorney John Alexander launched a program to help nonviolent offenders suffering from addiction.
The program offers a chance for offenders who want to change. It doesn’t mean they are out of trouble, as they would remain under supervision and must want to turn their lives around.
Currently, Alexander’s program received approval from the state to establish a drug treatment court. In the meantime, the county awaits funding. Virginia’s Drug Treatment Court Advisory Committee will make the final decision. More information will become available in the next 30 days.
These types of programs are standard nationwide. According to Virginia’s Legislative Information System’s (LIS) Virginia Drug Treatment Courts 2020 Annual Report, drug treatment court dockets have been operating in the Commonwealth for more than 20 years. Their efficacy and effectiveness are well documented.
In times of severe budget cuts, the drug treatment court docket model offers state and local governments a cost-effective way to increase the percentage of sustained recovery of addicted offenders, thereby improving public safety and reducing costs associated with rearrest and additional incarceration.
Every adult participant who completes a Virginia drug treatment court docket program saves the Commonwealth $19,234 compared to an adult who receives traditional case processing.