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Our View: Drug court keeps working

Published: Friday, May 23, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT

In the season of graduations, we congratulate another set of McHenry County Drug Court graduates who’ve made it through the challenging program for a second chance at life.

As we celebrate high school and college graduates who will be taking their first steps toward adulthood, we recognize that others who’ve made poor choices still have time to make better ones and, hopefully, appreciate being given an opportunity to start over.

That’s the spirit behind the drug court program. Besides the humane approach to the individual, drug court makes a great deal of sense for a society plagued by addiction and a nation that spends far too many resources imprisoning its citizens.

Legalizing drugs only would exacerbate the social problems that arise from drug abuse, but offering incarceration as a major solution to dealing with drug addiction is no solution at all.

The rigorous drug court program remains a much better option for McHenry County and some criminal defendants than incarceration, which costs tens of thousands of dollars per year per inmate.

A total of 16 recently completed the program and are among 91 total defendants who have participated or are participating in drug court since it began in 2011.

Appreciating the complexity of working with drug addicts, we’d like to see those completion numbers increase – not artificially but perhaps some diagnosis as to how the program could be improved for greater success.

Over these few years, drug court certainly has been a success and likely has saved some lives in the process.

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