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Drug court on track for July start
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MONROE - Green County's drug treatment program is on schedule to open in July.

Green County District Attorney Craig Nolen said he did not foresee any complications that would delay opening the drug court program, which will serve as an alternative sentence to prison for drug offenders.

"There's a lot of us working on this," Nolen said. "We're having team meetings, going through our processes and procedures."

Bob Gibson, a supervisor with Green County Human Services, said the team working on the program - 13 people from various departments including the courts, law enforcement, Human Services, and others - has been hammering out details of the program for months, ranging from eligibility criteria, memoranda of understanding, incentives, sanctions and more.

"It's been a huge undertaking, and when we started, we thought we'd never be able to get it all done," Gibson said. "But it is happening."

The program is being established with a Treatment Alternatives and Diversion Grant from the Wisconsin Department of Justice for $122,900 per year for five years. The drug court is an effort to help rehabilitate drug offenders to combat the rising use of drugs in rural areas.

Nolen said the eligibility requirements are still being developed, but the people most likely to be referred to the drug court will be people "on the prison track" who are determined by an alcohol and drug assessment to be at medium to high risk of recidivism. Offenders already in the system before the drug court is established will also be eligible if they meet the rest of the criteria.

"It's still a ways away, so we haven't started taking referrals yet," Nolen said, although he added that he expects most referrals will come from the Department of Corrections.

The court is expected to sustain about 20 participants, who will remain in the program for about 18 months. Participants will attend weekly sessions to meet with counselors about continuing their sobriety; should they violate that sobriety, the participants will face a traditional prison sentence.

Gibson said that, assuming the next months' work goes smoothly, the drug court will open July 1.