A grant, totaling $975,000 has been awarded to the Washington and Madison County program. The money will be divided up equally over three years. According to Kara B. Moore, the grant writer, drug court will be able to increase capacity by 33%.
The Drug Court that services Washington and Madison Counties will soon be taking on more offenders with the help of a federal grant totaling almost one million dollars.
"I was crusing down Springdale and I got caught with a quarter pound of weed," says Brandon Pope.
That's a felony offense taking Pope through a slew of courtrooms and slapped with a prison sentence.
"There are a lot of people that if you can divert them into a drug court and get them some rehab get them some counseling, you'll turn their lives around," says Arkansas Senator Mark Pryor.
A story best told by Brandon, who turned down the prison sentence to clean up his act.
"I was headed down the wrong path and when I got busted I was kind of glad, cause it's got me back on the right path," says Pope.
The Drug Court in Washington County is making room for even more success stories, with the help of a $975,000 dollar grant.
"They don't just hand these grants out to anybody, you really have to earn these and I think people in Madison and Washington Counties should be proud of what their local leaders have done here," says Pryor.
And Senator Pryor thinks the federal cash will be worth every penny.
"This is a very smart investment, we get a big return on every dollar put in, we get a big return coming back."
By keeping offenders out of prison, the program saves jail costs, and helps addicts get jobs.
"The idea is to provide a holistic setting to assess these people and give them the resources they need so that on this side, we can hold their feet to the fire and make them accountable, which is good for them and good for society."
"I think there's a real bottom line that tax payers need to understand, these drug courts, they work," says Pryor.
Changing lives for folks like Brandon Pope.
"It gives me a second chance at life to get involved in society," says Pope.
The grant will be divided up over the next three years in $325,000 installments.
US Senators Mark Pryor and John Boozman along with Congressman Steve Womack were on hand at Washington County Courthouse for the news.
3,000 drug courts applied for this grant money from around the country. Only nine, including the Washington/Madison County program, received it.