State Rep. Paul Curtman’s attempt to get an additional $7 million added to the state’s drug court program was unsuccessful in the Missouri House, but he plans to keep up the effort.
The Missouri House passed its version of the budget without the additional funding that Curtman proposed.
Now the budget has gone to the Senate, where Curtman hopes he can work with senators to put more funding into the system.
State Rep. Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, plans to help Curtman work with the Senate to get additional drug court funding added to the budget. However, they may not be able to get the full $7 million, but any increase will be better than nothing, Curtman, R-Pacific, said.
It costs an estimated $22,853 to incarcerate an inmate each year compared to $6,190 per year to put a person through the treatment court system, state documents say.
Drug courts attempt to treat the underlying substance abuse problem so the person can live a productive life. In addition to being a more cost-effective avenue, drug courts also reduce recidivism, Curtman said.
Franklin and Jefferson counties, which have both struggled with methamphetamine, could benefit from more funding to the state drug courts, according to Curtman.
The Missouri judiciary has asked the Legislature for $7 million in additional funding for the treatment court system. That would more than double the current budget.
Curtman said the additional $7 million he has proposed for drug courts is currently going unused by the Department of Corrections. Taking that money would not cause cuts in other areas since the funding is not currently being used, he added.
Curtman noted that his effort to provide more drug court funding had the support of top House officials, including the speaker and floor leader
The Missouri treatment court system serves about 3,500 people across the state, according to Rick Morrisey with the Office of State Courts Administrator. The extra funding requested could increase the amount of people served by 1,000 to 2,000, Morrisey has said.