by Max Brantley
Circuit Judge Robert Herzfeld of Benton has provided data comparing the cost of handling drug offenders in drug courts with the cost of imprisonment. It's much cheaper he contends — about $6,000 per year for someone in drug court versus $21,900 for some imprisoned for a year. He figures this adds up to $30 million in savings a year for the sate.
He ascribes no costs to the $136,000-a-year judge presiding over the various drug courts or their own staffs, figuring that those costs exist with or without drug court. He appears to be figuring about $1,250 a year in treatment costs for people in drug court.
It's part of his prep for a meeting Friday at the Capitol with legislators about reductions in treatment money for drug courts.