Mo. chief justice touts 20 years of drug courts

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Chief Justice Richard Teitelman (TY'-tel-man) says more than 12,000 criminal defendants have successfully completed special treatment programs in the past two decades.

Teitelman highlighted the treatment courts as part of his annual State of the Judiciary address Wednesday to a joint session of the House and Senate.

The state's first drug court began 20 years ago in Jackson County to divert nonviolent, substance-abuse offenders to judicially supervised treatment programs instead of prisons. The state now has treatment court divisions in all but two of its 45 judicial circuits.

Teitelman says more than half of those who enter the treatment courts successfully complete the programs.

A judicial report says the recidivism rate of adults who go through the programs is less than half of those who do not complete them.

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