November 9, 2003

Drug Courts

One of the more fiery issues in Tompkins County lately has been the decision of George Dentes, District Attorney, to pull out of the drug court that Tim Joseph, Chairman of the County Legislature, supports. (Dentes was responding to the reduction of his office budget by half a prosecutor, but has never been particularly fond of alternatives to New York's Rockefeller drug laws.) The Ithaca Journal ran an article on it last week.

Today, the New York Times (free for the next two weeks, registration required) has an article that notes:

"Nonviolent drug offenders who complete judge-supervised treatment programs are significantly less likely to commit crimes again than those who serve prison time, according to a new study by an independent research arm of the New York State court system."

Much to my surprise, the US Justice Department seems very fond of these, and supports them with grants. I don't know that the article will change any minds in Tompkins County, but it's interesting to see more data.

More information on what the Ithaca Drug Treatment Court does is available in this op-ed from Ithaca City Judge Marjorie Olds.

(Update, November 11: Corning, just down the road a ways and not particularly known for its radicalism, is also starting drug courts to "curb costs".)

Posted by simon at November 9, 2003 3:35 PM in
Note on photos


T-Bird said:

George Dentes, while charming in person, has an incredible propensity to turn newspaper into waste paper and toilet tissue. What an odd way to respond to your budget getting cut: take on more time and finance consuming work.