Judges: Keep Drug Courts Open
"MIDDLEBURG -- With grants slowly dwindling and eventually disappearing in the next few years for the Union and Snyder County drug and DUI court programs, officials approached the Snyder County commissioners to share success stories and their desire to see the courses continue.
"The transformation in these people ..." President Judge Harold Woelfel said, "is staggering."
"I have a great relationship with those people, and I don't want it to go away."
One participant not only got a job after graduating, but he was offered a supervisory position at his workplace shortly after he began.
Another -- a woman -- saved $2,000 in tips from her job to give to her family when a health crisis struck.
The stories, said drug court coordinator Scott Kerstetter, are "not for drama's sake. It's the reality of what it is."
For some people, results are a little lower key, and success means just getting a job to pay bills.
But all successes are beneficial to the counties, Kerstetter said, if that means program participants are not getting re-arrested and are not driving while under the influence.
In addition, Kerstetter said, people in the community have become more willing to be involved in offenders' rehabilitation. Valley professionals are providing credit counseling, smoking cessation assistance and help in preparing applications and teaching interviewing skills.
"You can't measure the cost savings by pulling a human being out of the culture they've been in," added Judge Michael Sholley, "and making them productive citizens."
So far, the drug court has been run solely on grants.
In 2011, however, grants will cover only half of the costs."