A Detroit court program called Project Fresh Start tries to put drug-addicted prostitutes on the right path. Funding for the program and dozens of others across Michigan designed to keep nonviolent offenders out of jail and enrolled in drug and alcohol therapy took a hit this fall, says the Detroit News. Despite $5 million in requests for money for drug court programs, only $2 million was awarded statewide. The shortage means many courts are cutting back hours, limiting treatment options for offenders, and making defendants who often are jobless pay more to be in the program.
With low recidivism rates, drug courts have been spreading rapidly across the nation. They generally put nonviolent offenders in intensive, 12- to 18-month therapies that mandate constant drug and alcohol testing, sobriety counseling, and court reporting. A 2006 study by the State Court Administrator’s Office showed the savings to Michigan taxpayers at two drug courts alone was $1 million over two years. Federal funds are available only for start-up programs, so court officials must look elsewhere to make up the deficit.