Monday, February 15, 2010
DC4 drug treatment program may run out of funds
DC4, or Davidson County Drug Court Developing Character During Confinement, is a sentencing alternative for drug addicts By Nicole Young • THE TENNESSEAN • February 15, 2010 A highly successful drug treatment program in Davidson County is in danger of having to close its doors because of a lack of funding. DC4, short for Davidson County Drug Court Developing Character During Confinement, is a sentencing alternative for drug addicts, helping them to overcome their addictions instead of putting them behind bars. It opened 13 years ago, expanding to include a pilot program for methamphetamine users and, later, treatment for mentally ill addicts. More than $600,000 in federal stimulus funds helped the program meet its $1.7 million annual budget last year. But those funds will soon be gone, said program founder Davidson County Criminal Court Judge Seth Norman. "We usually get about $500,000 from the state," he said. "I feel certain that we can get some kind of funding from the state this year, but I'm not certain if it will be that much. With the shortage of funds, there is always the threat of us shutting down." In an effort to stay afloat, Norman is planning a trip to Washington, D.C., next week to drum up support in Congress. If DC4 closed, all of the inmates housed at the 108-bed facility on County Hospital Road would be sent to prison, where there's no drug treatment. Eighty-five inmates call DC4 home, and treatment works. Only 35 percent of inmates fail to complete the program and are sent back to prison. Last year, 58 inmates graduated, and more try to get into the program every day, said Jeri Thomas, director of the facility's nonprofit funding agency. Currently, there is a waiting list of 15. "It's frustrating because I know we have room for everyone," Norman said. "Right now, there are two meth addicts in Bradley County who want to come here, but I can't do that when there's a possibility that we could run out of money in June.
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