It was welcome news that the state found funding for the Jefferson County family court drug court program. Yet, it is concerning that this program was not funded in the budget, and that a front page newspaper article was required to get it back in gear. The blogosphere is full of speculating on the "story behind the story." I think the Kentucky Law Blog's queries, though, are straight on:
"Why was drug court overlooked and ignored during the normal funding cycle when the AOC web pages, chief justice resume', and press releases abound with its praise?
Why were those involved in drug court left in the dark during the funding process?
This is the second time that funds were re-allocated for a project (eg., the minority law school scholarships - CLEO and now Drug Courts) which raises questions as to the reliability of the budgeting numbers going in and/or what programs or activities are being deprived of funds?
Where was $287,000 found during financially difficult times as now, and which programs paid the price?
What effect will this funding interruption have on the program and its personnel since classes were postponed and personnel let go when the money was running out?
Does the state auditor need to look at these books to see if there are any more funds that can be wisely used?
Is it wise to now finance the program outside of the AOC and will that result in loss of AOC oversight?"
A couple of weeks ago a group of mediators met for dinner to talk about how to do things better. The waiter, learning that some judges were present (those present actually included retired judges who are now serving as mediators) asked whether Judge Ryan would be coming. When someone asked why he wanted to know, he said "because he saved my life in drug court." Family drug court not only saves the lives of the addicts, but positively impacts the next generations, too.