Office of the Governor Rick Perry

Drug Court Signing

*Note - Gov. Perry frequently departs from prepared remarks.
Monday, November 26, 2001  •  Speech

Thank you Judge Creuzot. I am honored to be here today as we celebrate the successful completion of the DIVERT Drug Court program by seven Texans who are trying to live better lives.

Judge Creuzot, I want to commend you for your vision…you have crafted a drug court program that recognizes rehabilitation and personal responsibility go hand-in-hand.  Your program is tough, with intense intervention, a high degree of accountability and supervision, and the threat of sanctions for those who do not stay drug-free.

But it also offers hope, as attested to by the more than 160 graduates who have completed this program and remained drug free.

I was so impressed by the Dallas County program when I visited with Judge Creuzot last year that I asked the question, “why can’t we do this in other areas of the state so more drug offenders can be exposed to the treatment they need?”

Today I am proud to publicly sign a bill that expands drug court intervention in other large counties.

House Bill 1287, authored by Representative Senfronia Thompson of Houston, emulates the successful drug court program in Dallas in other Texas counties with a population greater than 550,000.

Texans charged with committing a non-violent drug offense will be given the option of enrolling in a county-run drug court established by a vote of the local county commission.

Drug courts place these eligible offenders in a 12 to 18 month treatment program.  They receive treatment and rehabilitation, are tested regularly for drug use, and are subject to judicial supervision throughout their participation in a drug court program.

The message is clear: we must not only be tough, but smart when it comes to drug crime.

Drug courts nationwide have experienced a 70 percent success rate among graduates and current enrollees in the program.

That means seven out of ten individuals have walked away from substances that take control of their lives, or are in the process of getting their lives back in order.

Drugs rob individuals of their future.  They lure in our young until they have become addicted and have lost total control over their lives.  Individuals with high aspirations soon live from high to high, with no aspirations.

In some instances, the tragedy of drug use is compounded when a child is born with a lasting condition caused by maternal drug use.

We must continue to fight the battle of prevention, and we must continue to do more when it comes to intervention and rehabilitation.

That’s why I am announcing to you today that the Criminal Justice Division within the Office of the Governor will be issuing a $167,000 grant on September 1st for Dallas County to start a Juvenile Drug Court Diversion Program that will focus on reducing drug use among young Texans between the ages of 10 and 17.

This, too, will be for individuals convicted of a non-violent drug offense.

I want to say to the seven graduates here today, we are proud of you.  There is not a person on this earth who doesn’t need a second chance at some point in life.

You have taken this opportunity for a new beginning, and the future is bright if you remain drug-free, and focused on tomorrow.

This is your opportunity to become a productive member of society, to give something back in return for the help and love others have shown you.

If Texans are educated, healthy, and drug-free, they can accomplish anything.  That is a message that every child in Texas needs to hear.  The future is too promising for the children of this state to risk it all to the allure of drugs and alcohol, or the possibility of one overdose.

Congratulations to our graduates today, and to the individual counselors, members of the court, and family participants who make it work.  We hope to duplicate your success across Texas.  Thank you.

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