Chief Justice is promoting intervention program for drug offenders

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – Add Mississippi’s top judge to the list of those supporting the expansion of the state’s drug courts.

Mike Randolph, Chief Justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court, was in Columbus Tuesday promoting the intervention program as an alternative to sentencing some drug offenders to prison.

The state’s high court hopes to establish 16 new intervention courts in the near future.

When someone is sent to prison on drug charges it costs the state around $18,000 a year. The cost for that same offender going through drug court is only $1,200 a year.

But Randolf says there’s money at stake. In many cases, the program has changed the course of lives.

“Only 3.5% of the people that graduate from drug courts get in trouble again. 35% of the people that go to Parchman get in trouble again. It’s one-tenth of the recidivism rate, so it’s a public safety issue as well,” said Chief Justice Mike Randolph, Mississippi Supreme Court.

The State of Mississippi Judiciary estimates that having defendants go through drug courts rather than the prison system has saved taxpayers over a billion dollars.

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