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State Seal Justice and Public Safety Cabinet
Kentucky Public Defenders Support Drug Summit Plans to Rescue State From Drug Problem
Press Release Date:  August 31, 2004
Contact:  Chris Gilligan
(502) 564-7554 (office)
(502) 330-4967 (mobile)
 

KY Public Advocate and ABA President Support More Drug Treatment

Frankfort, KY - Kentucky Public Advocate, Ernie Lewis, and American Bar Association President, Dennis W. Archer, are backing ideas unveiled by Governor Ernie Fletcher at the Statewide Drug Control Assessment Summit press conference last week.

Those ideas include focusing on treating and rehabilitating drug users and increasing the number of drug courts and drug treatment facilities. The task force chaired by Lieutenant Governor Steve Pence, also wants to cut the waiting period for admittance to existing treatment programs and offer education programs for kids in schools.

"Governor Fletcher and Lieutenant Governor Pence saw that continuing to treat this issue in the same way that we have in the past was not good social policy," said Lewis. "Their vision was translated into a coordinated strategy that has clearly been a success. Now the serious work of implementation must begin. The Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy is committed to working in partnership with the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet and other stakeholders to secure the resources needed to effectively and compassionately combat this public health epidemic. I am particularly hopeful that this Summit will result in increased resources going into treatment in local communities, in correctional facilities, and through the important mechanism of drug courts. I will do everything I can as Public Advocate to support this important effort."

In a recent article in The Advocate entitled "It's Time to Get Smart on Crime", ABA President Dennis Archer agrees with a focus on increased treatment options for drug offenders.

"It isn't enough to just be tough on crime; (we) also need to be smart on crime", writes Archer. "It's not enough to lock people up and throw away the key. To really make our communities safer, we also need to look at the other side of the coin: what happens after sentencing.

"If we invest resources while they are incarcerated in helping them prepare to reenter society - providing job training and treatment for substance abuse, for example - we make our communities safer by reducing the chance that ex-prisoners will return to a life of crime."

The idea of increased treatment has the full support of the Fletcher-Pence administration.

"The support of the DPA and ABA is key  for the successful implementation of the Drug Summit recommendations. With this strategy," said Lieutenant Governor Pence. "I am confident that we can confront this scourge head-on and make a difference in our communities."

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Last updated: Tuesday, August 31, 2004