Meridian, Miss. Judge Vel Young of the 10th Judicial District Drug Court says, while drastic state budget cuts will make things harder for the local program, officials are one step ahead to make sure drug court continues.
Drug Court gives non-violent drug offenders a second chance and helps alleviate over-crowded jails.
The program also saves money; the average inmate costs the state $41 daily compared to less than $8.00 a day in Drug Court.
Too much demand has led to state overall budget cuts of 42%, but Young says our local drug court will survive, thanks to some outside-the-box funding strategies.
"Although our budget has been cut, we solicit business from outside agencies and employers to allow us to do their drug screens," Young said. "We offer 5-panel testing as well as 6-panel testing, and we do it at a fraction of the cost that most agencies do around town. Our results are secure and we offer same-day results. You can get the results within a few hours."
Drug Court was started in Lauderdale County in 2009. This year, the local program won the state's Adult Drug Court of the Year award.