First-time offenders find second chance in drug court program
Idaho is taking a new approach to drug use and mental health cases by introducing problem-solving courts aimed at helping addicts and others overcome their problems.
"Problem-solving courts like drug court and mental health court are a departure from the adversarial model that we usually follow in court,” said Judge Gregory Moeller.
In just one year, a typical drug court program participant can complete the program and avoid prison time.
Randy Furniss ended his drug use six months ago when he began making bi-weekly court appearances as part of the program. Wednesday he reached a new milestone.
"I phased up to phase three, and there's four phases,” said Furniss.
As court wrapped up Wednesday, twice Grammy-nominated performer LT Smooth stopped by from New Zealand for a quick performance.
Smooth said he's grappled with many of the same problems facing those who appeared in court Wednesday.
"Out of this whole trip if I could change the life of one of 100, I'll take the one,” said Smooth.
"I realize that there's a better life than being in trouble all the time,” said Jerry Allen, a drug court participant.
Moeller said the those who participate in the program are less likely to re-offend than those who go to jail.
He said judges typically offer to program to first-time offenders.
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