(Photo by Nick Delgado)
BELL COUNTY (December 2, 2013) A drug court program that's helped offenders in Bell County overcome their addictions will expand to include Lampasas County next year.
Bell County commissioners voted unanimously Monday to expand the program.
A total of 47 people are now enrolled in the program, said Todd Jermstad, the director of the Bell-Lampasas Community Supervision and Corrections Department.
"It doesn't work all the time," Jermstad said.
"There are certain people that are just going to end up going to prison, but there are successful cases, and it's amazing when you see what's happening with these people and you are turning lives around."
The program was launched in July 2010, and is funded annually by state grant of just less than $100,000.
Jermstad said people convicted of drug abuse or possession of drugs are selected to participate in the program.
He told commissioners Monday morning there is a definite need to expand the program.
"Lampasas is a relatively small community, but it's got substance abuse problems," he said.
"The numbers we ran is at about 62 people on probation in Lampasas were put there for a substance abuse issue or a drug offense, and the resources are just not as extensive as Bell County. So this is an opportunity to expand treatment opportunities, to identify treatment resources and to address a problem in the community that that needs to be addressed."
The expansion comes at no additional cost to taxpayers, he said.
Beginning in January, the drug court program will be held monthly in Lampasas.