St. Charles County, MO (KTRS) A group of would-be inmates are getting a chance at a new start.
On Wednesday afternoon, 31 participants graduated from the St. Charles County Court Treatment program, which allows those with alcohol or drug related offenses to enroll in a year-long court supervised treatment program as an alternative to jail time.
Bill Esterline, says this program saved his life. “I was extremely sick when I got here. I had my fourth and fifth DWI and was facing 7 years in prison. I was brought up in an upper-middle class family, went to a local high school, played football, had everything, but this disease almost ruined my life.”
St. Charles County Circuit Judge Phil Ohlms, says this program has a better success rate and is more cost effective than prison treatment programs.
“We can treat people in the community in a program with very good results at one-third the costs of a prison treatment program.” said Ohlmes.
Over 1300 people have completed this program with a recidivism rate of less than 7-percent since its inception in 2000.
The program was honored as a Mentor Court in 2013 by the National Drug Court Institute.