Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

April 27, 2013

A second chance

Drug court, a blessing for one man.

— When Kokomo police arrested Christopher Scott in April 2007 for dealing in pain pills, it was a blessing in disguise.

Scott knew he had a problem and was ready to face the consequences, he said. His drugs of choice were methadone and hydrocodone.

“I pretty much knew I was done taking the pills,” the 35-year-old said recently. “It was a welcome time because that way I knew I could get clean. I was done with that life.”

After being booked into the Howard County jail on two felony charges of dealing in a controlled substance, he was offered the chance to participate in the newly formed Howard County Drug Court Program. He accepted.

“I was presented with the drug court by my lawyer and released in October [2007],” said Scott. “Basically they knew that I was an addict. I was going to a methadone clinic at the time trying to get help.”

After nearly two years of extensive probation visits and rehab, Scott successfully graduated from the program in 2009. He remains free from drugs today, he said.

“To be honest, it was easy for me,” he said. “The hardest part was changing different habits and lifestyles.”

Without the program, Scott faced between eight and 20 years in prison on one Class B felony conviction alone.

“I fully believe in the program,” said Scott. “Every person involved is completely genuine and wants to see people succeed and get out of the trap or sickness they put themselves in. I fully believe they all care what happens to people in program.”

Since its inception in 2007, 24 people, or 62 percent of its participants, have graduated from the Howard County Drug Court Program.

Two more people are on deck to graduate this year, said Laura Stiner, coordinator for the Drug Court.

Fifteen others did not make it and were terminated from the program.

Stiner said despite the failures, she feels the program is helping.

“As we know, addiction is a lifelong battle, and to me, failure is a very strong word in that sense,” Stiner said. “Even though we have been in operation for almost six years, we are still considered a young drug court. Because the program lasts a minimum of one year and a maximum of three years, graduation stats obviously take a bit longer to accrue. And termination rates are high in comparison in the beginning. But the gap between the numbers is growing more and more.”

As for Scott, Stiner said, he is “doing exceptionally well.”

“We also plan to be working with Chris [Scott] in the near future with hopes of starting an alumni group.”

The drug court focuses on addicts, not first-time offenders, and involves a team of a trained judicial and treatment workers who assess offenders to potentially be placed in the program.

The people who work to make the drug court possible include members of St. Joseph Hospital and Howard Regional Health System, Reba Harris of the Gilead House, police officers, jail officials and county council members.

“I believe it helped me,” Scott continued. “My life is absolutely amazing. I thank God for letting me participate and giving me that opportunity and the people God surrounded me with in the program and outside of the program.”

Now, Scott said, he is a successful car salesman and happy father and husband.

“Through the program I’ve established relationships with various people who have helped me. My wife and I are involved in a youth program at our church and throughout the city and the county. I’ve had two beautiful daughters since I’ve been in the program and my relationship with my 14-year-old son is wonderful,” he said. “It’s a great program. I’ll never put myself in that position again.

“I advise people that are given that opportunity to take advantage of it. It’s something that I think is very, very needed in this community. A lot of people benefit from the program, not just the individual but their families.”

The savings

If successful, the drug court saves taxpayers’ money by not having to incarcerate offenders for long terms, said Laura Stiner, coordinator for the Howard County Drug Court Program.

The cost to house an adult offender in the Indiana Department of Correction is approximately $58.99 per day, or $21,531.35 per year.

In Christopher Scott’s case, if he had been sentenced for example to 10 years, his completion of drug court saved the state more than $200,000.

Since the Howard County jail is primarily a pre-trial/detention facility, it doesn’t have the programs offered by the state, so the costs per day are lower — approximately $38.75 per day or $14,143.75 per year, Stiner said.

“Based on recent estimates, each successful drug court participant saves the county in excess of $8,000 in direct incarceration costs and the state in excess of $65,000,” said Stiner.

“In effect, one successful participant per year would result in enough specific incarceration savings to fully fund the drug court program,” she added.

The program is primarily self-funded and is the only drug court in the state, and possibly in the country, to offer intensive outpatient therapy and continuing care through the local hospitals at no cost to current participants.

The participants are assessed a drug court fee of $50 per month up to $500 which, along with grant money, helps pay for drug screens, graduations and training as needed and as required by the state, Stiner said.

Mike Fletcher, Tribune crime reporter may be reached at 765-454-8565, or via e-mail at mike.fletcher@kokomotribune.com.

For more on this story and other local news, subscribe to The Kokomo Tribune eEdition, or our print edition

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Miami County struggles through computer shutdown PERU (AP) — A northern Indiana prosecutor has harshly criticized other officials in his county for not adequately dealing with computer problems that have effectively brought some business to a halt. Prosecutor Bruce Embrey said Miami County governme

    August 1, 2014

  • Waterford Place looks to 11 senior living duplexes to campus More senior living options could be on the way in Kokomo.Waterford Place Health Campus, located in the 800 block of St. Joseph Drive, is looking to expand with 11 new senior duplexes after receiving approval from the Kokomo Plan Commission’s plat com

    August 1, 2014

  • Trial dates moved in Wagoner clinic drug case Trial dates for seven of the eight people charged in the Wagoner Clinic prescription drug case have been moved to Oct. 3.Several of the suspects – including Marilyn Wagoner, the wife of Donald Wagoner, the former head of the clinics – were set to sta

    August 1, 2014

  • NWS - Summer Fest 02 Russiaville Summer Fest starts Friday RUSSIAVILLE — You think you can knock a baseball out of the park? There's a contest for that. If you love to sing, there's an activity for that. If you're afraid to sing but know the words to your favorite song, there's an activity for that, too. The

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • July 2014 has been the coldest on record Veteran Indiana residents are familiar with the old adage as it pertains to weather: "Hang out, it's sure to change." And, change it has. Just 24 months removed from the hottest July on record in 2012, the National Weather Service announced late Thur

    July 31, 2014

  • One injured in motorcycle crash A 50-year-old man suffered chest injuries when he crashed his motorcycle at Washington and Lafountain streets Wednesday afternoon. A Kokomo Police Department accident report stated Tommie Barger of Kokomo was driving a 1983 Honda 1100 south on Lafoun

    July 31, 2014

  • BMV offering driver tests in 11 languages INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles is now offering drivers tests in 11 languages other than English that are spoken across Indiana. BMV Commissioner Don Snemis said Wednesday the decision was made at the urging of businesses, un

    July 31, 2014

  • Tionna Brown 02 Kokomo celebrates Tionna Brown's gold medal victories Little boys with pretend gold medals around their necks fought Wednesday to get their pictures taken with a pint-sized superstar who had won three real gold medals for herself. Twelve-year-old Tionna Brown just returned from Texas after competing in

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • KFD Rescue 2 Staffing changes leave Kokomo Fire Department with one rescue truck

    A shift in how the Kokomo Fire Department is staffed and responds to calls has some firefighters worried they will not have access to all the equipment they need. City officials, however, maintain there will be no change in the quality of service pro

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • Kokomo Police officers reach out to public Tuesday Kokomo police will be out in full force Tuesday in area neighborhoods. In addition to their regular patrols, officers will be out getting to know residents and the issues they may have as part of National Night Out, a crime prevention event. National

    July 30, 2014

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.