Gazette opinion: getting addicts into treatment, out of stream County jail

On Tuesday morning, the stream County jail management 481 inmates. Most have addictions to alcohol or completely different medication. A key to reducing the jail population is to induce people off medication before they commit another crime.

That’s the aim of the stream County Drug Intervention Program. the assembly of County adult Scott Twito, the program launched in New Style calendar month with support from the county, Justice Court, District Court and MT Department of Corrections. The aim is to induce first-time crime drug possession offenders into effective addiction treatment and out of the criminal justice system for good. Cases involving guns or sale of medicationaren’t thought-about for YCDIP.

Court numbers illustrate the scope of this problem:

677 total crime cases filed in stream County District Court in 2010.
1,324 filed in 2016
198 crime drug possession cases in 2010.
546 in 2016.
6 traffic cases in 2010.
60 in 2016.
The overwhelming majority of all criminal cases — not merely drug offenses — ar related to illegal habit, per Twito. First-time drug offenders don’t head to prison; they get probation. but relating to seventyp.c fail at probation, often because they keep abusing medication and generally commit new offenses. Sometimes, drug offenders get someextra charges whereas awaiting the first case to be resolved.

The YCDIP targets first-time offenders United Nations agency ar determined by screening to be “low-risk, low-need.” The program involves a team that has Twito, Lisa Ereth, the county’s jail screening coordinator; a state Department of Corrections officeholder, a prosecuting officer and New Directions counsel, a private addiction treatment provider.

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“We’re creating a trial to cut back resource usage and procure these people into treatment at intervals thirty days of arrest,” Twito said in Associate in Nursing interview last week.

Between Gregorian calendar month. one and June twenty 2, the YCDIP had screened forty 3 defendants. Thirty united to be interviewed for the program, and really showed up for the interview. Fifteen were determined to be ineligible for YCDIP and fourteen of those were aforementioned drug treatment courts, that usually take additional sturdy cases. Among those eligible, eight extremely accepted the give to affix the program and a couple of extra were considering it last week.

Here’s the deal: If the party pleads guilty, the county adult will raise the court defer imposition of sentence for twoyears, which might automatically be reduced to 12 months and dismissed by the county adult upon completion of YCDIP. Program participants have gotten quicker court dates and spent less time in jail than below the qualitymethodology. They receive a chemical dependency analysis at intervals two days, and ar required to follow recommendations for treatment.

Probation officer Laura McKee desires participants to tolerate random drug testing. She has jointly helped participants notice jobs, housing, transportation and access to treatment.

Yellowstone County wishes extra innovative concepts like YCDIP to chop back habit and additionally the crimes that ensueaddiction. It’s been powerful to rub along money for this treatment track, but the county pays much more to remain drug offenders secured up.

We commend Twito and stream County court officers for creating a trial to stop the cycle of medication, addiction and relapse.

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