Circuit judges apply for grant for veteran and drug court program

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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) - The Madison County Commission emphasizes its desire for rehab or intervention for drug addicts or mentally ill -- instead of putting them in jail.

"This was thought of and sought out by the judges. The commissioners just ratified the agreement," said Commission Chairman Dale Strong.

"The Madison County Commission would be the recipient of grant monies that I applied for to help the Madison County Mental Health and Veterans Court," explained Circuit Judge Ruth Ann Hall.

The two-part program helped stabilize more than 200 defendants and the money is sorely needed to fund a case manager.

"Someone that would help follow up with participants in the program and ensure they're in compliance," said Judge Hall.

Everyone else working for/with the program does so voluntarily, on top of their regular workload, solely because they find the cause worthwhile and important.

The program has been around for 8 years, and if the state doesn't approve of the funding, she'll ask the county commission, or else the program will disappear altogether.

"Then we'll go back to these people staying in jail, the jail paying for the extra treatment and medications," she said.

It is unknown when she will find out if the state approves the funding. In the meantime, she says, the current case manager is simply being 'carried' as they wait to find out if they will have a salary.

With budget cuts threatening many programs, the county is hoping to receive the $30,000 necessary to sustain the program that keeps jail numbers down and makes these defendants independent, contributing members of Madison County.