With issues such as substance abuse and mental health diagnoses increasingly impacting the criminal justice system, St. Charles County’s 11th Judicial Circuit Treatment Court has proven to be efficient and successful in preventing incarceration for offenders. The Treatment Court program is celebrating its 100th graduation at 3:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 23, at the Foundry Art Centre, 520 N. Main Center in St. Charles.
“As with all new ideas and programs, many people are skeptical, especially in the ‘Show Me State,’” says Judge Phil Ohlms, who presides over the Treatment Court. “One hundred graduations later, I firmly believe our 20-plus year documented success has made our alternative court programs one of the options prosecutors, defense attorneys and law enforcement all agree is one of the most desirable outcomes.”
Treatment Court provides individuals an opportunity to become sober, productive citizens by engaging them in an intensive court-supervised treatment program. More than 1,700 participants have graduated from the program in over 20 years, with retention rates continuing to increase. In 2020, the reoffending rate over a three-year span was roughly 19 percent for drug cases, 7 percent for Driving While Impaired (DWI) cases, and 0 percent for veterans’ cases.
St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann commented on the great success of this program. “I’ve seen the dedication of Judge Ohlms and the staff of the Treatment Court to the community,” he says, “and I am both grateful and impressed. This program is making such a difference in our community. Congratulations to all who have worked so diligently to make it a success.”
For more information about the 11th Judicial Circuit Treatment Court and other diversion programs, visit sccmo.org.