New drug court is helping folks in Tifton - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

New drug court is helping folks in Tifton

The drug court is fully operational (Source: WALB) The drug court is fully operational (Source: WALB)
The rehabilitation program will help repeat offenders (Source: WALB) The rehabilitation program will help repeat offenders (Source: WALB)
"We want to help these people get their lives back," said Cross (Source: WALB) "We want to help these people get their lives back," said Cross (Source: WALB)
"We saw the need here in Tift County," said Carter (Source: WALB) "We saw the need here in Tift County," said Carter (Source: WALB)
TIFT CO., GA (WALB) -

A series of grants has helped start a new Drug Court program in Tift County.

City and county officials say this could help increase public safety and allow folks to get addiction treatment quicker. 

"Putting them in jail, short stays here and there is not working and our prison system is getting really over crowded," said Judge Melanie Cross. 

The Tift County Drug and DUI Court Program began operation in September 2016.

It's an outpatient treatment program for repeat criminal offenders. 

"I saw an emerging trend as it relates to the caseload that we have in the Tifton judicial circuit and I knew that we needed to do something to address that," said Court Administrator, Charleston Carter. 

"If you don't treat the addiction, when the person, if he comes back out, they go back to the same lifestyle, same problems. It's just this repetitive cycle that we keep seeing, same people over and over again," said Judge Cross. 

The goal of the program is to reduce drug and alcohol dependency and allow people to contribute and function within their community. 

"This is a way to help them with a counseling group. They are required to take group and individual counseling. They are watched by a probation officer. They have multiple drug screenings every week. They do community service," said Cross. 

The maximum treatment is the 24 month program.

But no matter the length, every program has the same goal.  

"To help these people change their lives. Get their families back, get their jobs back, get their lives back so that they're not in the clutch and hands of this addiction for the rest of their lives," said Cross. 

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