Officials: Drug Court saves Manatee taxpayers money

skennedy@bradenton.comJanuary 14, 2014 

MANATEE -- Those who commit crimes as a result of substance abuse and go through Drug Court cost Manatee County a maximum of $3,700 a year, while if they go to jail, it costs $25,915 a year, officials said Tuesday.

"It's one-tenth of the cost of incarceration," Walt Smith, drug court administrator, told county commissioners Tuesday.

"Drug court is cost-effective, and generally cheaper, compared to other alternatives," Smith told Manatee County commissioners during a workshop session at County Administrative Center.

And due to the specialized court's extensive supervision of those arrested for non-violent offenses related to substance abuse, criminal behavior can be halted quickly following an arrest, officials said.

"There's a reduction in crime, they're not out there committing crimes," Smith said.

About 175 people are now under the jurisdiction of Drug Court, they said.

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.

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