State grant to expand treatment for drug offenders

July 16, 1996|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF

The Anne Arundel County state's attorney has received a state grant for a $244,000 program to steer drug offenders away from jail and into treatment programs.

State's Attorney Frank R. Weathersbee said the money will pay for six full-time employees to evaluate and oversee about 700 drug offenders charged in the Annapolis and Glen Burnie district courts.

He said he received notice yesterday that $183,000 was approved by the governor's office of crime control and prevention. He anticipates approval of another $61,000 in county matching funds in the months ahead to help pay for the program.

Weathersbee said the program means misdemeanor drug offenders will meet with their lawyers and a prosecutor at an informal inquiry about three weeks after they are arrested.

Those who participate will have their charges placed on an inactive docket for a year. The charges will be dropped if they complete both the drug treatment and any educational program recommended by a drug counselor, he said.

The dismissal of the charges also must be approved by a district judge, he said.

Weathersbee said the program is a smaller version of the Drug Court run in Baltimore and about 30 other cities nationwide.

He said it represents an expansion of county drug offender programs his office has operated for the past three years at the Annapolis District Court. But he said the grant will expand them to the Glen Burnie District Court.

The grant will pay for $157,000 in salaries for a project manager, two addictions counselors and three clerks; $50,000 for urine tests on participants; $18,000 for office expenses; $17,000 for computers and other equipment and $2,000 for travel expenses.

Pub Date: 7/16/96

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