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15. County and local savings from drug court

A five-year cohort of local drug court 9A graduates would have cost Person county $99,450 to hold them in jail, pending trial, had the participants continued offending as before drug court. Had each been charged only once in the five years after their graduation, the cost of holding them in jail awaiting trial would total $99,450 for the five-year period at $19,890 per year.

The proof is derived by my actual count of crimes committed by graduates. The number of non-reoffenders stated here is based on my count of actual criminal charges. The $99,450 figure is based on: (1) Local drug court's computer list of graduates of drug court participants between January 1, 2006 and Dec 31, 2010; (2) criminal record check of all graduates from their birth until the check was completed in April 2016; (3) North Carolina State wide jail cost per day that sheriffs charge other sheriffs to hold one another's prisoners waiting trial; (4) District 9A District Attorney's analysis that the average length of stay in the Person County jail for prisoners awaiting trial other than those awaiting trial for murder is 65 days. The $99,450.00 savings is obtained by computing the average cost per prisoner held awaiting trial ($2,925 per prisoner awaiting trial) multiplied by the number of drug court participants, 34, who ceased to reoffend after graduating (the non-reoffenders).

Here is how the $2,925 average cost per arrest is computed. Each of these 34 prior offenders would have cost the county--not the state but the county--$2,925 with every new arrest. To arrive at $2,925, multiply the two factors together: (1) The District Attorney's calculation of average stay in jail awaiting trial as 65 days and (2) $45 jail cost per day being the amount sheriffs charge each other to hold one another's prisoners. Multiply 65 by 45 and get $2,925. In times past, the number of days awaiting trial (before District Attorney Wallace Bradsher's HALO policy was put in place) was higher-between 120 days and 150 days, and the cost per arrest was higher. The District Attorney's HALO initiative was a project to reduce the number of days spent in jail spent awaiting trial.

The pre drug court criminal record of the 34 non-reoffending graduates shows they were on track to reoffend. Before they were in drug court, 617 jailhouse-worthy crimes were charged against these 34 graduates who ceased offending after drug court. They racked up an average of 18.14 crimes each before they got in drug court. During the last three years before they were ordered to drug court, each of them averaged 10.02 crimes charged and resolved in the courts--341 for the group. After they graduated from drug court, these same 34 non-reoffenders were never convicted of a crime. The cost of an arrest for each the 34 non-reoffenders would have cost the county 34 x $2,925 or $99,450 during the five years of the study.

More about my methodology: To determine who was a "non-reoffender" I actually personally checked the record of each graduate for crimes committed before and after graduation. The violations I counted as "crimes" in my calculations were all offenses that would subject the offender to incarnation. No traffic infractions, no civil violations, and no offenses punishable only by fine were counted as "crimes." The group whose cost I calculate was jailed Person County prisoners awaiting trial who don't make bond within five days of arrest.