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DOJ announces counties set to receive funds to expand or establish drug courts
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DOJ announces counties set to receive funds to expand or establish drug courts

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Attorney General Josh Kaul and Gov. Tony Evers on Monday announced three Wisconsin counties and one tribe are set to establish new drug treatment courts and programs with funding provided in the state budget.

Additionally, seven Wisconsin counties will use state budget funds to expand existing treatment alternatives and diversion programs meant to increase public safety and reduce offender recidivism.

Door, Lafayette and Shawano counties and the Ho-Chunk Nation will each receive between $70,000 and $140,000 to create new drug courts.

Adams, Buffalo, Pepin, Marinette, Monroe, Portage and Polk counties all will receive funds to expand existing programs.

Under Wisconsin’s drug court model, a judge may offer a nonviolent offender convicted of a crime the option of entering mandatory substance abuse or other treatment services instead of imposing other sentencing recommendations.

Under that arrangement, the court monitors the offender’s progress and may impose sanctions or incentives depending on the offender’s compliance with court-ordered conditions.

“Nothing compares to treatment court in its ability to help people meaningfully address the issues that bring them to the criminal justice system,” Adams County District Attorney Tania Bonnett said.

The state budget provided $1.5 million to expand and establish new treatment alternatives and diversion programs.

Even with the establishment of new programs, several Wisconsin counties are still without such programs, which can include drug courts and pretrial diversion, where a court agrees not to prosecute a nonviolent offender in exchange for the offender fulfilling certain requirements, such as treatment for substance abuse or mental health, or job readiness training.

At least 17 counties, many in northern Wisconsin, are still without treatment alternatives and diversion programs.

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