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Okla. Drug, Mental Health Courts Cut Prison Costs (Apr 25, 2012)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Dozens of Oklahoma drug and mental health court graduates are at the state Capitol to tell lawmakers how the programs have helped them turn their lives around.

More than 30 drug and mental health courts set up informational booths in the fourth-floor rotunda Wednesday. Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner Terri White says the courts have saved millions of dollars in prison costs and are considered to be among the most successful alternatives to incarcerating non-violent offenders with mental or addictive disorders.

White says it costs $5,000 a year to adjudicate an offender in drug court but $19,000 a year to incarcerate the offender.

About 4,100 Oklahomans participate in the state's drug court programs across the state, and more than 400 are enrolled in mental health courts.


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