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Nation’s drug czar visits Martinsburg to tout “community corrections”


MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (WDVM) — President Donald Trump’s top national drug policy adviser was in the Mountain State Friday.

James W. Carroll showcased the effectiveness of “community corrections,” programs that help eligible offenders make the transition to “the outside” through drug addiction counseling, working with probation officers and other community support groups. The success of community corrections drew the White House counselor to Martinsburg at week’s end where he and West Virginia Congressman Alex Mooney (R – 2nd District) met with staff and clients at the Berkeley County Day Report Center.

“They’re investing in the people here and so it’s reducing costs,” said Carroll. “It’s saving lives. It’s rebuilding them. Getting them into the community and getting them away from addiction.”

Mooney said the approach is “saving a million dollars in jail bills, saving a third of your jail costs, and proves that the program is working.”

Meanwhile, as the weekend approached, Sam Brown Petsonk, Democratic nominee for West Virginia attorney general was in the eastern panhandle and observed that “to succeed with long term recovery we have to help people get back into the workforce, back with their families. Those are the ingredients of success for people in long term recovery,” he said. “I’ve seen community corrections help to accomplish it.”

And West Virginia does have a reputation for success with community corrections. The drug court program keeps first-time, non-violent offenders out of jail if they pass random drug tests, meet as assigned with probation officers, enroll in school and/or hold a job for a full year. It’s the kind of program that cuts costs at correctional facilities, restores families, and makes our streets and neighborhoods safer.

And the Berkeley County Commission says the program has cut costs in running the Eastern Regional Jail.