A pilot project to give kids on drugs special attention when they get in trouble with the law is being cancelled due to state budget cuts. Paul Stageberg, at the Criminal and Juvenile Justice Planning Division, says kids in the drug court program have been getting extra drug abuse treatment, plus, they have to check in with authorities every week.
“A kid who’s entering juvenile probation isn’t going to see a judge every week,” Stageberg says. “The increased attention is to help them get their lives back on track.” Five Iowa counties were experimenting with juvenile drug courts. The Department of Human Services says a study showed the program wasn’t achieving its goal of keeping kids out of trouble long-term.
Stageberg says the study showed kids bounced right back into the justice system once they were released from the program. He says, “While the study showed that the kids who went into juvenile drug court did receive a fair amount of treatment, they did not show reduced recidivism after they left the juvenile drug court.” Stageberg says the study was done early on and changes in the program might show better results now. The program will be eliminated to save a half-million dollars.