A program born out of Kentucky’s opioid crisis is putting drug offenders into treatment faster and reducing the cost of incarceration.
The Rocket Docket initiative allows local prosecutors to expedite non-violent felony drug cases through the judicial process. It also allows certain defendants rapid entry into substance abuse treatment.
The Prosecutors Advisory Council in the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office recently issued a report examining Rocket Docket in the three-and-a-half years since the program began.
PAC Executive Director Bobby Stokes says fewer drug offenders are languishing behind bars, and that has resulted in cost savings to county jails.
“The treatment ultimately gets the person back into the place where they can contribute to society, so anything we can do for that purpose alone, I think speaks well for the program," Stokes told WKU Public Radio.
Before the program began in 2015, the average offender spent 115 days in a local jail, but now the typical stay is 21 days before they enter substance abuse treatment. That’s resulted in cost savings of more than $80 million for local jails.