Tri-County Mental Health Services saves hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars, prevents crime, and helps individuals in our community break the cycle of alcohol and other drug addiction through its participation in the Treatment Court programs.
Through six Treatment Courts in Clay, Platte and Ray Counties, the focus is on the underlying mental health issues and/or addictions of the participants instead of focusing only on their crimes and punishment.
Does this sound like a “let them off easy” approach to dealing with criminals? The results suggest otherwise. Instead, it is a rigorous, heavily supervised approach to help participants transform their lives while avoiding the high price and ineffectiveness of incarceration.
Below are some statistics regarding the effectiveness of the Treatment Court programs:
- In 2015, it cost taxpayers about $22,000 per year to incarcerate an individual who would remain incarcerated for several years.
- For that same individual, the average cost of completing a Treatment Court program is about $5,000 per year and participants typically remain in the program for 18 months.
- The chance of someone coming out of jail and getting convicted on a new offense is about 67 percent.
- Nationwide, the rate of conviction on new charges is reduced by 58 percent for Treatment Court graduates.
- In Platte County’s DWI Court only two of the court’s 154 graduates have been arrested on new charges.
Since its inception 10 years ago, the Platte County DWI Court program alone has saved taxpayers about $13 million dollars in incarceration costs. This does not include the thousands of community service hours performed by the participants, or that the participants are now employed and contributing members in the community.
“All of these statistics show that Treatment Courts clearly result in saving money, enhancing our community and improving lives,” said Allan Odle, Tri-County’s Treatment Court Liaison.
The Treatment Courts hold graduation ceremonies several times per year when groups of participants have met program requirements. These events are emotional and rewarding, as the people who have completed the program express their gratitude for their renewed opportunities, and the judges express their happiness that these individuals are unlikely to be back in their courtrooms – at least not as defendants!