Study: More want treatment instead of jail for non-violent drug users; Drug treatments courts on rise in Wisconsin Submitted: 04/04/2014
Story By Adam Fox

Study: More want treatment instead of jail for non-violent drug users; Drug treatments courts on rise in Wisconsin
CRANDON - A new Pew Research study conducted in February shows that a large majority of Americans support treatment for non-violent drug users instead of mandatory jail sentences.

67 percent of people surveyed believe the government and courts should focus on treatment for drug users.

Judges and prosecutors face a tough judgement and balance of figuring out the appropriate punishment for non-violent drug users in court.

Forest County Prosecutor Chuck Simono says he sees a remarkably high number of repeat offenders in the county even after spending time in jail.

"Just from what I've seen in Forest County over the last six years, I would put the recidivism rate in excess of 70 to 80 percent," Simono said.

Many Wisconsin communities are turning to drug treatment courts. It's a program with courts for non-violent drug users that combines treatment, sanctions, drug tests and care for when they've stopped using drugs.

Simono says the social movement has shifted to more of a focus on treatment to get people rehabilitated and back in the community. He seems more hopeful for people successfully going through a drug treatment program.

"They're going to return to the community, they're going to get a job, they're going to be productive," Simono said. "They're going to help contribute to a positive way of life rather than what we see when we just jail people."

Leaders in Forest County, including the Forest County Potawatomi, hope to form a treatment court to help users and cut costs.

"The cost to just continually jail individuals is just enormous," Simono said. "Unfortunately for some individuals that's going to be the only answer, others will find treatment successful."

Prosecutors, judges and social workers want to rehabilitate everyone, but sometimes even treatment isn't the answer. Simono says some people decline treatment for jail instead. Others repeatedly go through treatment without fully grasping the rehab.

"We have others that insist on treatment that have been five times already," Simono said. "They're still not adapting and utilizing the coping skills that they've been acquiring over all of their trips to treatment."

Leaders in Forest County hope to win a federal grant that would pay for the setup of the court.

The treatment court could be running as soon as this year if they win the grant, but the county and Forest County Potawatomi don't have the funding to start the court without federal help.

Wisconsin has around 50 drug treatment courts throughout the state.

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com


TOMAHAWK - If you feel stir-crazy this time of year, taking a quick drive Tuesday afternoon might help.

Hometown Chiropractic in Rhinelander and Tomahawk hopes to spread smiles during, "Sunshine on the Streets."

The doctors will wave signs with their favorite positive quotes starting at 12:30 in the afternoon.

Chiropractors normally work to get your physical health in check, but they want to help your mental health, too.

"I want to say we are one of the smaller countries in the world, but we take almost 80 percent of the world's anti-depressants. So we want to make sure we have positivity energy and positive thoughts because it will help us heal better and feel better," says Dr. Grace Zuiker Nash.

"Sunshine on the Streets" also marks the First Official Day of Spring.

+ Read More

MINOCQUA - You can travel all of Latin America and Spain and never leave the dinner table in Minocqua.

Minocqua Brewing Company is hosting a " Tango, Tapas, and Tempranillo" wine dinner Tuesday night.

Getting culturally creative with food can be tough during a slow tourism season.

That's why learning about new cuisine and sharing it with the locals is the chef's favorite part.

"I have used Chimichurri for fifteen years, but to actually research and find out where it came from and the story behind it is kind of cool," says Chef Scott Conley.

Minocqua Brewing hosts a wine dinner and cooking class each month.

For more info, click the link below.

+ Read More

Play Video

WAUSAU - Seven of the Democratic gubernatorial candidates participated in a public forum this weekend. Citizen Action of Wisconsin held the event at the Wausau Labor Temple.

Citizen Action is a statewide grassroots organization. Dozens of people came out to hear the candidates' opinions on many topics including prison reform. health care, and rural broadband.

+ Read More

MADISON (AP) - An environmental organization and the U.S. Forest Service are working together to harvest timber in northern Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Public Radio reports that the 2014 Farm Bill has allowed the two groups to enter into a stewardship agreement. The conservancy will hire loggers, sell timber and use the proceeds for projects the Forest Service can't afford to do.

The conservancy plans to use some money to restore Simpson Creek by rerouting the channel and exposing the gravel floor that fish need to spawn. The group also plans to rebuild a handicap accessible boardwalk on the Oconto River and will use funds to restore habitat for the endangered Kirtland's warbler.

Forest Supervisor Paul Strong says the Forest Service's budget has been stretched by efforts to fight wildfire that have become more frequent and more intense.

+ Read More

Play Video

WOODRUFF - Ice fishermen had until Sunday to move their ice shanties off the ice.

The Oneida County Dive Team knows that doesn't mean people won't still be out on the lakes.

Saturday, rescue divers geared up and got under the ice to be better prepared if anyone should fall through the ice this spring.

"They'll learn how to be self-reliant and how to rescue their partner," said Oneida County Dive Team dive master Laura Fuhrman.

Fuhrman and other team members participated in the team's annual ice rescue training.

"[Diving] is different in cold water," said Fuhrman.

Divers geared up with suits and equipment that weigh more than 100 pounds.

"It's a lot easier [to wear] underwater than it is walking with," said Fuhrman.

Divers had to rescue a fake victim and even one of their own teammates under the ice.

"We really stress safety in all our dives. But especially in an ice dive," said assistant dive team leader Michael Fraley.

Fraley has been a part of the team since it started more than a decade ago.

+ Read More

CLARK COUNTY - David Farris has been found safe according to the Wisconsin Department of Justice. 

+ Read More

TOMAHAWK - A popular Tomahawk event welcomed a sold out crowd over the weekend.
350 people attended the 15th annual Taste of Tomahawk.
Local restaurants, breweries and wineries displayed the best they had to offer at the Inshallah Country Club.
Organizer Jesica said the event successfully shows what Tomahawk has to offer.
"We want to feature the region and all the wonderful things we have to offer. So we hope we get a lot of folks to come to Taste of Tomahawk, that maybe don't visit us other times of year. We can really show them what Tomahawk's all about," said Jesica.

Some vendors used the event as an opportunity to show products and flavors people may not be familiar with.
The Silver Birch Supper Club has attended Taste of Tomahawk since the beginning.
"[It's great] seeing it grow, from just starting out to seeing what it is today. The costumes are great. Great costumes for St. Patty's Day," said Silver Birch Supper Club General Manager Chris Copiskey,

+ Read More
+ More General News

Click Here