'Less crime, less incarceration that saves taxpayers money'

'Less crime, less incarceration that saves taxpayers money'
YAKIMA, Wash. -- Keeping people out of jail could end up saving you money. Yakima County leaders accepted a plan to expand drug court.

When people use drugs it often leads them here to court, and then to jail.

"My life became unmanageable and I was out of control and pretty soon I wasn't happy anymore,” said Staci Maglietti. “It wasn't fun anymore but I couldn't stop using."

Maglietti knows firsthand how drugs can lead to a life of crime. She's now clean, but worries about her brother.

"He's been in and out of jail since he was 18 years old, said Maglietti. “Mostly in."

If Maglietti’s brother goes to jail for drug offenses, there's a 50-percent chance he'll re-offend. Which falls right in line with the pattern she's seen, but if he was to get treatment through drug court instead of jail time he'd have just a seven-percent chance of reoffending. A new grant hopes to improve that success rate even more. It will offer mental health assistance as well, an important key to getting on the right track.

"I think if at some point in his life if he's able to get his chemical dependency treated along with his mental health issues I think he might be able to find a balance," said Maglietti.

Administrators already see the difference drug court has made in Yakima County. They know the addition of mental health counseling will help even more troubled people regain control of their lives.

"I'm really excited about this,” said Terese Davis the manager of Yakima’s drug court. “I think it's something that we've needed for a long time. Less crime, less incarceration that saves taxpayers money."

It's estimated for every dollar spent on rehabilitation there's a $12 savings on jail costs. Helping to keep our community safe and save you money.

The grant also doubles the size of drug court to work with 50 people at a time instead of 25.