AG announces $1.5m to expand drug and diversion courts

Local News

A more comprehensive approach to reducing drug abuse is heading our way in the form of new treatment and diversion (TAD) programs.

“What that means is that more people who end up in the criminal justice system are going to be able to get the help that they need to get back on their feet,” said Attorney General Josh Kaul.

These provide non-violent offenders a chance to recover outside of a prison environment through drug treatment and parole type management.
The goal is to put fewer people behind bars, save tax dollars, and save lives.

“If we can address these problems up-front and get to the root of the problem, we’re going to save money in the future when fewer people end up committing new crimes and ending up in the justice system again,” said Kaul.

The plan appears to have bipartisan support.
It comes from Evers’ budget with $140,000 granted to Door County to create an adult drug court.
And additional funding to Marinette and Shawano counties for similar projects that make sure the state systems speak to each other.

“The court system as well as the treatment system,” Sen. Andre Jacque, R-Green Bay. “Just finding ways to be more effective and making sure that we’re able to keep some of the root causes from re-occuring.”

An analysis is being worked on through the Department of Justice to figure out how much money this is going to save the state by relieving the strain on our prisons.

“It’s going to be something that is going to hopefully make sure we’re not having as many people continue to just go through the rotating doors of the justice system,” said Jacque.

The financial analysis from the Department of Justice is expected to be finished by mid-2020.

Attorney General Josh Kaul is divvying up $1.5 million in grants for drug courts.

The 2019-21 state budget includes $1.5 million for expanding drug courts. Such courts provide alternatives to prosecution and incarceration for offenders who abuse alcohol and other drugs.

Kaul announced at a news conference Monday that the money will go to help Door and Lafayette counties create drug courts, support the Ho-Chunk Nation’s drug court and help Shawano County’s newly established drug court.

The money also will be used to expand treatment and diversion programs in Adams, Buffalo, Marinette, Monroe, Pepin, Portage and Polk counties.

Gov. Tony Evers also appeared at the news conference. He called drug courts a “critical part” of criminal justice system reform.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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