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.