Thurston County Connection Newsletter
Thurston County Connection
Thurston County Connection
March, 2014
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This Month's Articles

Recently Elected Officials Honored at Swearing In Ceremonies

Service Comes First

Thurston County’s Specialty Courts Hit Milestone

One Family, One Judge.

Sheriff Recognizes Contributions to the Community

Romance on Mound Prairie

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 Treatment Sales Tax Proceeds Go Into Effect.

Funding provides help to stabilize offenders.

“Donna” recently graduated from Thurston County’s Mental Health Court. After two years of intense court sessions, counseling and other work, she has become stabilized and has stopped the substance abuse and other destructive behavior that got her caught up in the criminal justice system in the first place. She has reunited with her family and has returned to a productive place in society.

While her personal story is now one of redemption, it is also an example of the value of therapeutic court programs like Mental Health Court and of the treatment sales tax that goes to support such programs.

Starting July 1st, monies began coming in to Thurston County from a 1/10th of 1% increase in the sales tax which was approved by the Thurston County Commissioners in November. Original estimates were that the proceeds would total about $4-million a year, but that has been revised downward to about $3.2-million because of the recession. The proceeds will primarily be used to fund Therapeutic Courts, legal assistance for such courts, Jail and Juvenile Court Treatment Services and Pre-trial Services in the county.

Thurston County Manager Don Krupp says the Treatment Sales Tax proceeds are aimed at breaking the revolving door cycle that some people have in the criminal justice system. “Reports have shown that problems with drugs and alcohol and with mental illness are significant underlying factors in the lives of many people that cause them to become entangled in the courts and jail. If we can help them find solutions to those underlying problems, we can help return these individuals to productive lives and save money for the system and the taxpayers.” Another example is the recently started Veteran’s Court aimed at helping returning soldiers who become entangled with the law and justice system because of impacts from the military service like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Gail Gosney, the coordinator for the Treatment Sales Tax program, says the Therapeutic Courts have demonstrated their worth “These intensive management programs have helped people take some accountability for their problems and linked them with treatment, education, employment and other community resources to break them out of old habits and help them get into a lifestyle that’s beneficial for everyone.”

Gosney says a six-month process was used to decide how the Treatment Sales Tax proceeds would be used. “We had many, many meetings to work out the details which included meetings of county staff and judges, a 45-member Community Review Committee and input from many folks in the treatment and criminal justice disciplines.”

Tracking and evaluating the use of the Treatment Sales Tax funding is built into the program, according to Gosney. “Any group that receives this funding must provide a statement of work and performance measures in order to qualify. They will then be required to provide updates on program activities and outcomes. A report will be delivered to the Thurston County Commissioners every six months and we will make sure that report is available to the community.”

With stable funding for beneficial programs and hard work and dedication by the participants, there should be many more success stories like Donna’s in the future.

More information on the Treatment Sales Tax program can be found on-line by visiting the Thurston County Website and clicking on the “Treatment Sales Tax” button.

By John Tennis

Donna receives her certificate from Judge Buckley. Donna receives her certificate from Judge Buckley.