Senators offer drug court funding solutions

Financially-strapped drug courts could soon be out of the red with a solution proposed by a Northwest Arkansas senator who believes he found an alternative method of funding the state’s 41 courts for the next year.

Sen. Bill Pritchard said a combination of $500,000 from the Arkansas Department of Correction and $110,000 from surplus revenue could bridge the gap in 2012 until an alternative method of funding can be identified, Arkansas News reported.

An additional $3 million in unappropriated funds from the Tobacco Settlement Commission will also help funds operations until 2013 for drug court, a program that offers alternative treatment options for drug offenders who would otherwise go to prison.

The pot of money appropriated into the drug court operations fund will add to the $250,000 currently in the account, Pritchard explained.

Next week, the committee will hear a proposal from Sen. David Burnett to use $390,000 in drug forfeiture funds to help continue drug court operations into 2013.

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