Chief Justice: Intervention courts save taxpayer dollars
MERIDIAN, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Mike Randolph says the state should put more money into programs like drug courts. He says the interventions save millions of taxpayer dollars.
The Meridian Star reported that Randolph spoke Wednesday to Rotary Club members in Meridian.
“When we send a druggie to Parchman, it’s $18,000 a year. That is what it costs to maintain a person,” Randolph said. “In drug courts, we spend about $1,200 a person per year.”
He said that since 2012, intervention courts have saved the state $576 million. Added benefits of drug courts are that they keep people in the workforce by requiring that participants hold a job throughout the program, Randolph said. The program also keeps people accountable with drug tests and regular check-ins with judges.
Randolph said Mississippi could save more money and help people by adding veterans’ courts, mental health courts and more drug intervention courts. Adding eight veterans courts, eight mental health courts and three more drug courts, Randolph said, would cost an additional $2 million. That money would need to be appropriated by the state Legislature.
Randolph urged residents to encourage legislators to support funding additional intervention programs to keep people out of prison.