Grant to help offenders with drug problem

October 24, 2003|By Allison Klein | Allison Klein,SUN STAFF

City and state officials announced today a $1.1 million federal grant that will help nonviolent offenders in the Baltimore Circuit Court system have timely access to drug treatment.

The program will put addicts into treatment within 35 days of arrest, rather than keep them in jail or put them back on the street to wait for a court date. The addicts must accept a plea agreement and want help for their substance abuse.

"We have means to help you and means to put you away," said state Sen. Nathaniel J. McFadden, one of several officials who made the announcement. "We want to help you."

Other officials included Mayor Martin O'Malley, Circuit Court Administrative Judge Ellen M. Heller and Rep. Elijah E. Cummings.

The one-time grant was given by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. It will help create a process of substance abuse assessment, referral and case management, all within the court system.

The program, which involves cooperation among prosecutors, public defenders and the courts, is scheduled to begin Nov. 3. The grant will also provide residential treatment for about 120 adult and 35 young offenders.

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