In a press conference at the State Capitol, Attorney General Josh Kaul, alongside Governor Tony Evers and members of the Wisconsin State Legislature, today announced that more counties and one tribe will be offering more treatment court and diversion (TAD) programs in Wisconsin. These new and expanded programs are funded by an additional $1.5 million over the next two years, made available through the 2019-2021 State Budget.
“Expanding access to treatment for Wisconsinites with substance-use disorder is a critical part of our effort to reduce substance abuse,” Kaul said in a statement. “I’m proud to announce grants that will support treatment and diversion options for people who become involved in the criminal justice system due to an addiction.”
“Treatment and diversion programs are a critical and compassionate part of our criminal justice system, which is why The People’s Budget added additional funding to our Treatment Alternatives and Diversion program to take it to the highest funding level ever,” Evers said in a statement. “For every dollar we spend on treatment and diversion, we save nearly two dollars in our criminal justice system, so our budget investment was critically important, and I’m proud that we’re using these funds to expand treatment alternatives so we can reach more folks across our state.”
The TAD program provides local jurisdictions with options to give non-violent offenders an opportunity to enter diversion programs or treatment court programs as a safe alternative to jail or prison confinement. These options typically involve drug and/or alcohol abuse treatment, case management, and other risk reduction services. Diverting non-violent offenders into substance abuse treatment improves outcomes for individuals with a substance use disorder, and keeps them out of jail and correctional facilities – thereby saving bed space and taxpayer dollars – as well as treating the underlying addiction that may have influenced them to commit a crime or may contribute to future criminal behavior.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) is responsible for administering the program, in partnership with Department of Corrections, Department of Health Services, Director of State Courts Office, and State Public Defender’s Office.
The new TAD-funded programs include:
- More than $140,000 to create an adult drug court in Door County.
- More than $70,000 for the Ho-Chunk Nation to support an established Healing to Wellness Court.
- More than $118,000 to create an OWI court in Lafayette County.
- More than $107,000 to support a newly established adult drug court in Shawano County.
Additional funding will allow six counties to expand existing TAD programs.
These expansion funds are in addition to ongoing annual funding for TAD. In total, TAD funding over the biennium now totals almost $14.4 million, which includes county drug court programs, and supports treatment courts and diversion programs in three tribes and 53 counties in Wisconsin, according to a Department of Justice press release.