Local counties get money to expand treatment court programs

Published: Nov. 18, 2019 at 11:51 AM CST
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Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul has announced an expansion of the drug treatment court and diversion programs.

Door County, Lafayette County, Shawano County and Ho-Chunk Nation have been awarded funds to either create a treatment court or support a newly-established treatment court.

Door County is receiving $140,000 to create an adult drug court. Door County's District Attorney Colleen Nordin said this funding helps them get the program up and running a year ahead of schedule.

"We have been working on this for well over a year and funding was our biggest obstacle," said Nordin. "Every day while in the court room we are identifying individuals we know would benefit from a program like this."

"We already have a pre-arrest diversion program and that (adult drug court) is just the next step in our process," said Door County Sheriff Tammy Sternard. "Jail is not suited to offer the treatment that is needed to get these people back on track."

Ho-Chunk Nation is receiving $70,000 to support an established Healing to Wellness Court.

Lafayette County has received $118,000 to create an OWI court.

Shawano County has received $107,000 to support a newly established adult drug court.

Wisconsin's two-year state budget includes $1.5 million for treatment and diversion programs.

“Expanding access to treatment for Wisconsinites with substance-use disorder is a critical part of our effort to reduce substance abuse,” said Attorney General Kaul. “I’m proud to announce grants that will support treatment and diversion options for people who become involved in the criminal justice system due to an addiction.”

Treatment and diversion programs are alternatives to jail for non-violent offenders. They include drug and alcohol abuse treatment, case management and programs to reduce the risk of re-offending.

"We know folks want to do better and often they don’t have the support or resource to do that, so if we can try to provide that support, structure and oversight for them we really want to see them succeed," said Nordin. "We don’t like to see folks come back in the system over and over again."

"We want to look at issue of addiction because it doesn’t affect just the individual, it affects their family, friends, employers and our community as a whole so anything we can do to get them the treatment and assistance they need to get their life back on track, we are willing to try that in Door County," said Sternard.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice administers TAD programs with the help of the Department of Corrections, Department of Health Services, Director of State Courts Office, and State Public Defender’s Office.

Several counties will receive funds to expand treatment court programs. Marinette County is getting $78,000 for a case manager position to help address the wait list for the drug court program.

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