Grayson commissioners give go-ahead for drug court grants

The Grayson County Commissioners Court approved submitting grant applications Tuesday to fund the Grayson County STAR Adult Recovery Court and STAR Family Drug Court for the next year.

The applications are to the Criminal Justice Division of the Governor’s Office. The county is requesting $151,000 for the Recovery Court and $66,000 for the Family Court. Brown said the funds from the grants are the specialty courts’ primary funding.

The Recovery Court has been working with drug offenders since 2005. It provides an alternative to jail through an intensive probation program. “We’ve taken people that are generally the worst of the worst,” said Grayson County Community Supervision and Corrections Department Director Alan Brown. “They’ve been in and out of prison and nothing has worked. This program allows them … to become productive members of the community again.”

Brown said approximately 80 percent of the 125 program participants have graduated since it was begun.

Through the program, he said, participants are given the tools to be productive in society, including being required to get a high school equivalency certificate, if they don’t already have one, and maintain steady employment.

“It allows them to become tax payers and take care of their financial obligations,” Brown said.

He said the cost to incarcerate these offenders is “substantially more” than the County spends for the speciality court. “It’s good for the county. It’s good for the people who come through the court,” Brown said.

He emphasized, however, that the program is not a free pass. It includes intensive supervision and participants who fail to meet the requirements of the program can face jail time.

Brown said Court Coordinator Brandy Hinton has recently been elected to the Texas Association of Drug Court Professions Board and District Court Judge Rayburn Nall, who initiated the Recovery Court, is the Association Board’s president.

“That speaks volumes for how our program is thought of in the state,” Brown said.

The Grayson County Family Intervention Court, which was started in 2006, operates similarly to the Recovery Court, but its participants are parents who have or are in danger of loosing their children to the state because of drug use.

Since it’s inception, there have been 125 participants, 66 children reunited with their parents and six drug-free births as a result of the program.

“We really have set the standard for the state of Texas,” said County Judge Drue Bynum.

On Tuesday, Commissioners also voted to award the bids to the high bidders for surplus property sales in Precinct 4. The items came from the old Grayson College building that Commissioner Bart Lawrence acquired as his Precinct 4 Barn in Denison. They included tools and auto body equipment. The auction brought in $7,000 for the County. Two items that didn’t receive any bids will be declared as salvage and disposed of.

Finally, the Court approved a request from a local hospice provider to work with the County’s Veterans Services Office to identify veterans to honor them through a flag presentation program the provider is offering its patients.