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Local DUI court receives grant
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Judge Leon Braun recently received a $15,900 grant from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety to aid Liberty County in funding the operation of its DUI court.

The Liberty County DUI Court began in February 2011 to address the high incidence of alcohol and drug use as well as seek to break destructive patterns and make lasting changes in families within the county.

The local program, which currently has 27 participants, provides group counseling, individual counseling and involvement in community-based recovery programs, random drug screens, medical monitoring and case-management services.

The program has access to a continuum of treatment services ranging from residential to aftercare.

Collateral services are provided to address needs such as stable housing.

Offenders are placed in an environment where they undergo treatment and counseling, submit to frequent and random drug testing, make regular appearances before the judge and are monitored closely for program compliance.

Graduated sanctions, including jail time, are imposed for noncompliance.

Conversely, incentives are applied for continual compliance.

Research continues to show that drug and DUI courts work better than jail or prison, probation and treatment alone.

At 24 months after graduation, DUI court participants are 20 percent less likely to be arrested for a new felony.

However, DUI courts are not cheap to operate. While participants pay fees to support their treatment costs, operations are funded through fundraising, local government appropriations and state grant funding, such as a Governor’s Office of Highway Safety grant.

The local DUI court still needs more funding so the program can be available to all who wish to receive the help they need.

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