House committee delays drug court expansion bill

CHARLESTON (AP) — Shrinking federal funding could prevent the expansion of West Virginia’s very successful drug court program.

A bill discussed Monday would allow the state Supreme Court to shift the cost of drug treatment programs to the Department of Health and Human Resources. The shift would free up $1.4 million for five or six new drug courts.

But a spokeswoman from DHHR said that they were losing federal funding and that to her knowledge there was no money in their budget for the proposal.

Drug courts currently operate in 16 of the 31 circuits in West Virginia. Costs for drug courts are less than a third of costs for imprisonment and drug court participants have very low recidivism rates.

The House Health Committee requested more fiscal details from DHHR.

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