San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

August 22nd, 2011
Commissioners greenlight felony drug court


The Hays County Commissioners Court approved the county’s first felony drug court this month.

The drug court, a rehabilitative program, monitors family issues, drug rehabilitation progress, employment, education and other issues related to those offenders who are selected for the program.

“Over the past year we have put together this drug court and have seen great success,” said 428th District Court Judge Bill Henry, whose court administers the program. “The best thing about the program is that we have been able to reduce recidivism and increase rehabilitation at no expense to the county. Now that we have officially been approved as a drug court by the commissioners court, the law allows Hays County to retain more fees that participants must pay that would otherwise go to the State of Texas.”

With the drug court, the county could keep $36 of every $60 fee instead of $6.

Since the drug court was established on Aug. 9, 17 defendants participated in the program, and six more are expected in the next four months. Of the 17 participants so far, 52 percent are currently employed full time, 17 percent are full-time students, 12 percent receive disability and 17 percent are currently unemployed, according to county officials.

Helping offenders find employment is a major component of the drug court program, according to county officials.

“Our drug court defendants have come a long way,” Henry said. “Many of them come in at their lowest point and through the program have been able to find jobs, increase their education and learn to take care of their families. If a participant violates his or her probation conditions, the court immediately holds them accountable, but continues to work them. In addition to meeting with the judge in intensive sessions, the Hays County Adult Probation Department oversees the rehabilitation programs, drug testing and court payments.”

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