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St. Clair County begins drug court

By Kevin Lavery, KWMU

St. Louis, MO. – St. Clair County officials say a new drug court that begins Wednesday will send nonviolent drug offenders to treatment; not prison.

They believe that will reduce the public cost of trials and incarceration.

The county has a similar domestic violence court that could serve as a model. But Circuit Judge Annette Eckert says the drug court will be more intensive with defendants required to make weekly appearances:

"Actually seeing the judge; the judge knowing what's going on and speaking with the defendant and giving that positive and negative reinforcement," Eckert said. "And we're going to have an entire team that's involved, basically everybody rooting for this defendant."

At this time, the drug court has no dedicated budget. Eckert says current justice system employees are taking on more work to support the program.


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