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Drug courts awarded $50,000

Published 1:43pm Sunday, February 10, 2013

CASSOPOLIS — Fourth District Court received a $50,000 grant for Feb. 1 to Sept. 30 to support Cass County’s three treatment courts, family treatment, adult drug and sobriety.

Judge Stacey A. Rentfrow shared the news with the Board of Commissioners Thursday night.

“We received notice on Feb. 1 that our application was accepted” by the State Court Administrative Office, she said. “Sobriety court focuses on drunk driving offenders. I also started adult drug treatment. That program focuses on felonies, which kind of ties in with Judge Dobrich’s family treatment court. Judge Dodge also has a program, so we have a great continuum of opportunities going on in the court system.

“We, obviously as judges, have the ability to punish, but treatment courts say, ‘Let’s look at what we do have available to help with education, vocational services and random drug testing with surprise visits in your home.’

“The drug court model works,” Rentfrow said. “It’s a national program, and all of the evidence shows that more regular contact with the judge, random testing and other services, including mental health counseling and trauma counseling, works. I already have funding for this fiscal year. There was an opportunity to have a collaboration grant of $50,000 with no strings attached so Judge Dobrich and I can continue services to treat people and help them with their addictions so they can turn into individuals who can contribute back to the county by being employees, taxpayers and parents of healthy children. The value of helping a person break free from their addictions is hard to put a number on. Usually, the easiest thing to do is to say they’re not in prison or jail, but really there’s much more to it if you can cure that addiction.”

Rentfrow compared drug treatment to icebergs.

“What we see in court is the tip,” she said. “Below the water is all the issues to cure them from so we don’t have repeats back into the system.”

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