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Posted on: May 7, 2018

County Seeks Grant to Expand Drug Treatment Court

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HONESDALE -- Last summer, Wayne County launched a Drug Treatment Court designed to offer non-violent offenders, suffering from drug and alcohol addiction, the treatment they need and restrictive intermediate punishment, in lieu of jail.

The program has, thus far, been hailed as a success, but more offenders qualified than organizers had expected. In order to be eligible for the diversion program, offenders must be Wayne County residents who are not charged with a violent crime currently or in the past, or who are not serving a current prison sentence or under parole supervision. They also can not have convictions for a variety of other crimes including arson, drug trafficking, DUI resulting in death or injury, and some sexual and weapons offenses, among others.

Those accepted into the program have their cases fast-tracked and must immediately plead guilty to all charges before the judge, participate in intensive addiction treatment, drug testing and supervision over the course of 18 to 36 months. If an offender does not satisfactorily complete the program, he or she will be sentenced according to state guidelines.

In an effort to serve more eligible offenders, the probation department wants to focus the full-time efforts of one officer on the Drug Treatment Court. The $53,379 expansion grant from the PA Commission on Crime and Delinquency will allow the department to hire another staff member to take on the residual case load of the dedicated officer.

In the coming months, the County Commissioners expect to receive a full-scale report on the program's inaugural year.

In other business, the commissioners approved a memorandum of understanding with MMM Waste Removal for a cardboard recycling program at Camp Equinunk. The solid waste hauler approached Recycling Coordinator Randy Heller regarding the possibility of obtaining a container to collect the cardboard at the camp. Heller said the county has an old roll-off contained that would be suitable for that purpose. The agreement allows MMM to use the container and bring the recyclable materials to the county's processing center near Beach Lake. The company will handle the hauling, including any costs associated with it.

Also, the commissioners signed a letter of support for a Wayne Highlands School District grant request. The District is seeking a USDA Rural Development grant to purchase, erect and equip a greenhouse in support of its Agricultural Sciences Curriculum. Commissioner Brian Smith said it is important for the students to be involved in alternative means of producing food. He noted that 50 percent of the nation's farmland will be changing hands in the next decade or so. "We need young people engaged in agriculture to take these properties over and maintain them as active agricultural operations," he explained.


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