Georgia may begin seeing more alternative courts, such as DUI courts and drug courts, but only if the state can come up with the money to fund the programs. Governor Nathan Deal said in his inaugural speech last month that he wanted Georgia to open more DUI courts, drug courts and mental health courts and other alternative programs, such as day reporting centers, while he is governor.
According to the Rome News-Tribune, Governor Deal said that the alternative courts would mean fewer nonviolent offenders would end up in jail. Alternative courts have also helped with recidivism, especially if an underlying addiction is behind crimes like DUI or theft. Alternative courts can get people help that they need.
According to the Rome News-Tribune, Floyd County has had success with their Matrix program. The program is a 48-week clinical outpatient program and is an alternative system to drug courts. People who go through the program receive weekly counseling and drug treatment. The program is funded by court fees, but it will likely run out of funding by 2014, at which point the county will have to decide what to do next.
Georgia has 28 drug court systems that have boasted low-recidivism rates. All the courts cost money to operate, but those close to the issue say that it will help that the governor is behind the programs.
Drug courts getting notice, but cost is an obstacle (Rome News-Tribune)