As one of the only remaining counties yet to institute a drug court, it may soon be on the horizon for Shawano County.
A drug court is a different avenue for those who have serious drug addictions and have been charged with drug offenses. Rather than just being thrown in jail, it gives those with addiction a better way to receive help.
“This is a program where you’re held accountable, you’re constantly tested, and there’s a lot of different requirements,” said Shawano County Sheriff Adam Beiber. “You have to keep a job. You have to go to drug counseling, so it’s a very intensive program and a lot of people don’t graduate from it, but for folks that truly want to get off of drugs and truly want to better themselves, this is an avenue that has proven success.”
According to the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, drug courts significantly reduce re-arrests and provide a cost savings for the county that can range anywhere from $4,000 to $12,000 per client.
“If they’re going through a drug court, 75 percent of them remain drug free, and they don’t re-offend, basically,” Sheriff Bieber stated. “Before drug courts, 60 to 80 percent of the drug abusers, once they get out of jail, they re-offend because they still have that drug problem. Crimes that they are committing are drug related.”
Implementing a drug court is still is the distance for Shawano County. Waupaca County just started moving forward with their drug court system within the last year, due to the extensive planning it requires.
While some may be skeptical of the program, Sheriff Bieber explained there will be careful consideration when selecting which offenders would be eligible for the system.
“The district attorney is going to be very selective on who he selects for this drug court,” assured Sheriff Bieber. “He will not select anybody that has violent crimes. If you’re a violent offender, he’s not going to put you in the drug court, but if you just have a drug offense, maybe possession, you may be eligible for this.”
Funds as well as determining a drug court coordinator are still needed for Shawano County to move forward with the program. Considering the success other county drug courts, it continues to be an ongoing discussion for county leaders.
Sheriff Bieber estimates that it could be seen in Shawano County by the end of this year or beginning in 2018.