U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., joined a bipartisan group of senators Wednesday in calling for continued financial support of the country’s drug courts.
“As a former prosecutor, I know firsthand the dangers that drugs pose to individuals, families and the community,” said Klobuchar, a former Hennepin County attorney, in a statement. “Drug courts help nonviolent offenders receive the treatment they need while also saving taxpayers money and helping to reduce crime.”
Winona County recently received a $349,000 multi-year federal grant to help implement a drug court, which it hopes to have running as soon as October.
In December 2011, the U.S. Government Accountability Office released a report on drug courts that suggests the courts save an average of $6,000 per participant and may reduce crime by up to 58 percent.
Two Republican and two Democratic senators joined Klobuchar in sending a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee, asking the committee to continue funding the courts, “which have a proven track record of being both effective and an efficient use of taxpayer resources,” they wrote.
The nation has more than 2,600 drug courts, which work with non-violent offenders who suffer from addiction and mental-health issues, placing them in treatment and other programs rather than simply incarcerating them. Generally, a drug court participant who successfully completes the program and does not re-offend has the offense wiped from their record.