The Kansas City, Mo., Municipal Court recently held graduation ceremonies for 18 successful participants of its Veterans’ Treatment Court and Drug Court programs.
To qualify for graduation, the 10 Drug Court and eight Veterans’ Treatment Court participants had to complete at least one year with their program and six months of treatment. They also had to demonstrate at least six months of sobriety.
The programs are two of the City’s problem-solving courts that provide qualifying offenders with services like substance abuse treatment and/or mental health treatment in lieu of jail time.
Drug Court began in 2002. For a minimum of one year, participants receive intensive treatment, live in sober and stable housing, submit to random drug testing and review their progress frequently with the Drug Court judge and the Drug Court team. This ensures they are attending treatment as expected, staying clean and sober and obeying the law. They are rewarded for doing well with small incentives and may be sanctioned when they do not comply with a court order or condition of the program.
Veterans’ Treatment Court began in 2009 and offers substance abuse treatment and/or mental health treatment to veterans with an identified treatment need. They often connect with the Kanas City Veterans Affairs Medical Center for the first time through the court.
The Municipal Court also has a third program, Mental Health Court, which focuses on non-military offenders needing mental health treatment.
Studies show that these therapeutic justice approaches reduce recidivism and, for those with drug addiction, are more cost effective than incarceration or traditional probation and treatment.