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Strong focus currently on Missouri's drug courts

Citing the triple factors of "prevention, treatment and enforcement," U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently spotlighted a large federal grant earmarked for drug-fighting efforts across the country.

Missouri is a pronounced recipient of the funds. The state is slated to receive more than $80 million to be applied in various ways pursuant to a consistent goal of reducing drug addiction, unlawful opioid dispensing and high criminal justice costs.

One notable money-directed target of the grant will be Missouri's drug courts. Those alternative-to-prison justice tools are already well established and with proven effectiveness, yet with a clear need for cash infusion and further expansion.

Reportedly, that is precisely what they'll now get, with close to $2 million being pledged for their support.

State lawmakers are unquestionably pleased with that outcome. Missouri legislators recently gave drug courts a ringing endorsement via passage of a bill calling for their material shoring up and expansion across the state. That prospective law now requires only Gov. Parson's signature to be formally enacted as legislation.

We certainly support drug courts and their positive role in securing optimal outcomes for many state residents suffering from abuse problems.

Those individuals need targeted treatment, not a prison cell. Reams of empirical evidence establish that a default lock-up philosophy for drug-crime defendants is often flatly counterproductive. It is exorbitantly expensive, ultimately yields a high rearrest rate for released offenders and does nothing to address the root problem of addiction.

Drug courts centrally deal with substance abuse, operating with the goal of successfully returning participants back to their communities.

The St. Louis criminal defense attorneys at Frank, Juengel & Radefeld strongly support programs for drug defendants that offer real hope and are redemptive rather than punitive in nature. We note on our website that many such individuals "have an addiction they cannot overcome and don't where to go for help."

Our office can help guide them toward a proper venue and resolution.

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