Youth drug court funding cut in half - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Youth drug court funding cut in half

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HINDS COUNTY, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Hinds County Supervisors have voted to fund a youth drug rehab program until the end of the year. The county's Youth Drug Court is financially strapped due to the funding formula that it's had since it began in 2004.

Youth Drug Court is held at the Henley-Young Juvenile Detention Center in South Jackson. It's an alternative to jail time for kids between 10 and 17-years-old who have a drug problem. The program requires older teens to get their GED.

Youth Court Judge Bill Skinner addressed the board Monday morning, asking for $50,000 to stay afloat. The funding comes from $10 assessments on both traffic tickets and fees for convictions. It is distributed to all the circuit courts statewide, and the cash flow has become too thin.

"Our budget went from $260,000 down to $115,000. Next year it will drop to $75,000. We have 44 participants in our drug court. There is no way to adequately meet the needs of these children with that kind of cut," Skinner says.

Skinner adds that the money is siphoned down quickly through the 22 circuit courts in Mississippi.

"There is not enough money to operate these drug courts. They've had to eliminate all the justice [drug] court, municipal [drug] court, [and] the two family courts, which are pilot programs, in Rankin County with Judge Broome," states Skinner.

Judge Skinner plans to ask the legislature to raise the assessment from $10 to $20 per traffic ticket and conviction to more adequately fund the Youth Drug Court.

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