In honor of National Drug Court Month, the Jefferson County Drug Court will hold a balloon release celebration at 10 a.m. Friday May 11, at the Jefferson County Courthouse.

“Next week’s uplifting celebration is evidence of the tremendous impact the Jefferson County Drug Court has had on our community and will send a powerful message that these programs reduce drug use, crime and recidivism while saving lives, families, and valuable resources for our state,” according to a news release.

The Jefferson County Drug Court began in May 2004 with five clients. Two hundred and fifty clients have entered the program as of April 18, according to the release.

“The county has obtained thousands of dollars in restitution: the program has a recidivism rate of 4.9 percent. There are currently 38 participants in the program: four are working to obtain their GEDs,” according to the release.

Research shows that treatment courts work better than jail or prison, better than probation, and better than treatment alone, according to the release.

“The Jefferson County Drug Court is a judicially supervised court docket that reduces correctional costs, enhances community safety, and improves public welfare. In these programs, seriously addicted individuals remain in treatment for long periods of time while under close supervision. Court participants must meet obligations to themselves, their families, and society.

“To ensure accountability, they are regularly and randomly tested for substance use, required to appear frequently in court for the judge to review their progress, rewarded for meeting goals, and sanctioned for not meeting clearly stated obligations,” according to the release.

National Drug Court Month is coordinated by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals. Treatment courts throughout the nation are celebrating National Drug Court Month with the theme “Criminal Justice Reform in Action.”

Since 1989, these courts have saved more than 1.4 million lives and billions of tax dollars, according to the release.

“Today, 2,966 treatment courts are in operation in all 50 states, plus U.S. territories, successfully treating close to 150,000 substance‐addicted individuals each year,” according to the release.

“Drug courts and other treatment courts are the most successful programs for seriously addicted individuals in our nation’s history and represent true criminal justice reform in action,” Carson Fox NADCP chief executive officer, said in the release. “Drug courts and other treatment courts restore lives, reunite families, and make communities safer, all while saving money for taxpayers. Instead of punishment, these programs provide life‐saving treatment to those who need it most.”