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Dearborn Drug Court to Receive City Funding Through End of Year

Dearborn City Council approved the funding Tuesday night.

Following discussion earlier this month about the future of Dearborn's Drug Court program, Dearborn City Council elected to continue the program with city funding—at least through the end of the year.

The Drug Court program is run through the 19th District Court, and provides alternative sentencing for some defendants convicted of drug-related charges within the city, including community service and drug testing.

After banking on the continuation of state funding for the program, court officials were surprised to learn that, as of Oct. 1—the start of the state's fiscal year—their funding would be cut.

Court officials requested that the city continue the program, at least through the end of 2012, using general funds from the city.

The end of the $35,000 annual grant left the court $14,577 short for finishing out 2012.

At Tuesday night's City Council meeting, councilmembers elected unanimously to fund the program through Dec. 31, 2012.

Court leadership, including Chief Judge Richard Wygonik and Judge William Hultgren, explained via memo that ending the program abruptly would cause issues for the court, and its participants.

"This will allow the court to continue monitoring the current 23 participants along with giving us the opportunity to look for any additional grants that may be available," administrators wrote in the memo.

Judge Mark Somers, who oversees Dearborn's drug court, went a step further with his request, penning a memo alleging that "drug courts work," and that the city should continue to budget for the program this year and for years to come.

At a discussion on the topic Oct. 2, councilmembers seemed hesitant to continue the program at all. The 2011 graduation rate for participants of the program was 16 percent, or eight of 59 people.

Council on Tuesday did not mention any support of the program after the current Dec. 31 funding deadline.

Annie October 10, 2012 at 11:03 AM
Very prudent decision. I received a very disgusting letter from the mayor supporting Salem Salami because Judge Wygonik isn't bringing in enough money for city services. Point #1, the court is NOT the mayor's ATM machine. Point #2, the last person he endorsed for judge (Mark Somers), has cost the tax payers this year alone $469,000 in settlements. Lets not forget about the 1 million judgement still accruing interest. Point #3, separation of powers was taught in 7th grade. Did the mayor miss that class??
Leslie October 10, 2012 at 02:55 PM
What is the specific impact of the Drug Court program on increasing or decreasing the cost of the criminal justice system? Does it keep convicted offenders out of the jail system, thus costing taxpayers less than if the offender went to jail? Or would those offenders have simply gone on probation anyway? And what is the projected in savings due to "rehabilitation" so that those offenders are not repeat offenders that would cost taxpayers more in the long run?
V incent Alawai October 10, 2012 at 06:09 PM
A waste of money. These pot heads aren't going to be cured because they don't want to get cured. IF THEY WANT ASSISTANCE, PAY FOR THE SERVICE.
Lee Jacobsen October 14, 2012 at 09:05 PM
Judge Somers claims the drug program works, well, so does a nail clipper for cutting the lawn. My point? How effective is the program? Can't the families of the druggies pay for it?

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