New adult drug court in Montana
Billings, Montana: Judge Ingrid G. Gustafson of the Montana 13th Judicial District Court is planning to start a new adult drug court in Montana next year. The Bureau of Justice Assistance in the Federal Department of Justice recently approved a $350,000, three-year grant for the new court. There is currently a family drug treatment court (presided over by Judge Susan P. Watters), but the new drug court will be the first in Yellowstone County that is geared toward drug addicts who commit felonies and do not have children.
The drug court model seeks to not only punish, but, through the use of a "treatment team", encourage addicts to deal with their addiction in order to get to the root of the problem. This treatment team includes a judge, sheriff's deputy, prosecutor, public defender, probation officer, counselor and sociology professor. The new court will be the first in the state to incorporate recovery management checkups. Judge Gustafson said that most drug users who come to court will go back to addiction later. With the drug court, she believes, "with quite a few of those people, we could stop the whole process.”