Drug Court costs less than incarceration


By Frank Lewis - flewis@civitasmedia.com



If you thought the drug epidemic in Scioto County has no direct affect on your life, it only takes a glance at this week’s Scioto County grand jury indictments to see how many of your tax dollars are required to deal with those cases through the court system.

In the most recent grand jury indictments handed down, 15 people are now facing drug charges and Scioto County Common Pleas Judge William T. Marshall says there is only one way to keep the financial costs down.

“It is cheaper to send them to counseling than it is to send them to prison,” Marshall told the Daily Times in a exclusive interview Thursday. “With Medicare and Medicaid the way it is right now, I can send them to counseling to get them off of drugs cheaper than I can send them to prison.”

Marshall’s Drug Court has been seen as a model for programs all around the state because of the low recidivism rate for those who complete the court program. You don’t have to look far to find one of those built off Marshall’s program.

Portsmouth Municipal Court Judge Russell D. Kegley has built a similar program in his court. The specialized docket court of the Portsmouth Municipal Court earned final certification from the Ohio Supreme Court’s Commission on specialized dockets in March.

“I sat around a while watching because I was, at first, one of the skeptics,” Kegley said. “After watching his for a few years it’s apparent how well it works. He has had one person who has graduated reoffend over 10-12 years. Right now we’re lucky we haven’t had any of ours reoffend since they graduated.”

On the latest indictment list, Elizabeth Sue Martin, 40, of Huntington, West Virginia, is charged with aggravated possession of drugs; Kaitlynn Jane Hufferd, 25, of Franklin Furnace, is charged with possessing drug abuse instruments and illegal use or possession of drug paraphernalia; Anthony Carl Colvin, 32, of Franklin Furnace, is charged with possessing drug abuse instruments and illegal use or possession of drug paraphernalia; Thomas Cain Lusk, 27, of Portsmouth, faces two counts of aggravated possession of drugs and possession of cocaine; Kenneth E. Cochran, Jr., 32, of New Boston, is charged with aggravated possession of drugs and possession of drugs.

Destinee Wilson, 19, of Columbus, faces charges of possession of marijuana and possession of cocaine; Jeffery Smith, 50, of Lucasville, has been indicted on charges of aggravated possession of drugs and possession of drugs; Troy D. Rowland, 46, of West Portsmouth, is charged with two counts of aggravated possession of drugs, possession of drugs and possession of heroin; Jack E. Beesler, II, 45, of Sciotoville, was indicted on charges of possession of drugs and possession of heroin; Jason S. Miree, 31, of Portsmouth, is charged with possession of cocaine.

Jeremy Sanders, 29, of Portsmouth, has been indicted on two counts of aggravated trafficking in drugs, trafficking in marijuana, two counts of aggravated possession of drugs and possession of marijuana; Adrienne Jordan, 35, of Portsmouth, is charged with trafficking in cocaine and possession of cocaine; Rashad Davis, 24, of Fremont, Ohio, will face two charges – trafficking in heroin and possession of heroin as will Janiece Spencer, 19 of Lima, Ohio.

In a report titled – “A Detailed Cost Analysis in a Mature Drug Court Setting: A Cost-Benefit Evaluation of the Multnomah (Oregon) County Drug Court,” the costs per individual for all outcome transactions were summed to determine the total outcome costs per individual. Outcomes included any transactions that occurred after the drug court eligible arrest, except for those directly related to the eligible arrest. It included any re-arrests and court hearings due to those re-arrests, even if they occurred while an individual was still in drug court. For the treatment, probation and jail data that could not be associated with a particular case, transactions (e.g., jail time served, treatment episodes) counted as outcomes if they occurred after the 18-month cutoff date.

The cost per individual going through drug court was $5,927.80, while the cost per individual going through the typical court system resulting in sentencing was $7,369.32 a difference of $1,441.52.

In his interview with the Daily Times, Marshall summed it up with a single sentence – “Give them a chance and if they can’t get off of it, then they have to go to prison.”

By Frank Lewis

flewis@civitasmedia.com

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.

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