On December 18th, Joe Owen and Owen & Owens PLC hosted a breakfast for the Chesterfield Colonial Heights Drug Court at the Village Bank Corporate headquarters. Joe is Chairman of the Chesterfield Colonial Heights Drug Court Foundation.
The breakfast was attended by various legislative, government and court officials from throughout the Richmond Metropolitan Area. The Honorable Frederick G. Rockwell, III, of the Chesterfield Circuit Court, and the Honorable Jerry Hendrick, Jr., of the Chesterfield Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, described the very positive impact which the drug court is having in battling substance abuse and related crime in the Richmond Metorpolitan Area.
These sentiments were echoed by Chesterfield Commonwealth's Attorneys William Davenport and Larry Hogan. Both men, who are career prosecutors, descibe how the success of the Drug Court program moved them from reluctant participants to vocal advocates of the program. Hogan made it clear that the program is not a minor slap on the wrist. Rather it is an intensive rehabilitative program which combines state of the art treatment and quick and certain jail time for those who mess up.
A statistical comparison of Drug Court and traditional legal treatment further highlights the importance of Drug Court. The average criminal has an 80% likelihood of committing another crime and going back to jail. The Drug Court participants almost reverse that statistic. 65% to 75% of the graduates of Drug Court go on to live crime-free lives. It costs approximately $5,000 a year for a person to participate in Drug Court. To incarcerate the same person it costs from $60,000 a year for an adult to $100,000 for a juvenile.
When a person goes to jail they do not experience many positive changes. A graduate of the drug court generally becomes a productive citizen.