Troup County Accountability Court pursuing $195,000 grant DUI/Drug Court and Mental Health Court program

Published 8:00 am Thursday, March 3, 2022

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

The Troup County Accountability Court is seeking a nearly $195,000 grant to further fund its DUI/Drug Court and Mental Health Court initiatives.

If awarded, the grant funds will be used to fund DUI Drug Court personnel, surveillance drug testing and training within the program, said Denise Smith, Troup County’s Accountability Courts Coordinator.

“We’re not looking to expand, we’re really looking to maintain where we are right now,” Smith said. “We’re working very hard to [achieve] the capacity [we had] at the time of COVID.”

The court is seeking the grant from the Council of Accountability Court Judges (CACJ) and the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) who recently began accepting applications for FY23 funding. The grant funding through these programs fund the majority of the court’s budget for the fiscal year, Smith said. Participant fees are paid directly to the treatment provider for their services. The court typically operates on a shoestring budget.

“Our budget is about $13,000 for the next year,” Smith said.

With the Accountability Court’s request of $194,896, the county would have to match the amount by $26,577, which would be funded through the court’s DATE fund. However, Smith expects the court will only receive about $100,000 in award funds.

The grants are reimbursable and have a buy-in of a 12% cash match, an increase from the usual 10%. Smith said the court should be able to easily meet this increase through its DATE Fund.

The mission of the DUI/Drug Court program is to promote a safer community by identifying non-violent, multiple alcohol and/or drug offenders and help them successfully complete a judicially supervised treatment program. The goals of the program are to increase public safety on Troup County roadways, to reduce the community’s public welfare costs, decrease the financial burden and expense of law enforcement while increasing individual responsibility and promotioning a healthy lifestyle.

As noted in county documents, the DUI/Drug Court produces savings in reduced jail and prison costs, reduced arrests and reduced recidivism and crashes. 

In the last two years, the program has had 122 individuals graduate the program, Smith said. Twenty-five of those individuals were in mental health court, 43 in DUI court, 40 in felony drug court and 14 in family treatment court.

In 2019, Troup County Accountability Court resurrected its 501c3 organization, Accountability Troup, and has since received foundation grants and private donations totaling nearly $40,000. Accountability Court uses the funds to supplement participants’ emergency needs, such as temporary shelter, food or medicine. These funds are not included in the Accountability Court’s Date Fund or in its awarded grant amounts, Smith said.

“If state funding [continues decreasing], we’ll see where the 501c3 might be able to supplement program operations,” Smith said.

Accountability Court has also established a relationship with the LaGrange Police Department to assess calls concerning mental health offenders.