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Martin Sheen For Drug Courts

Submitted by on 11 November, 2021 – 4:32 am

Martin Sheen pressed senators to expand federal funding for drug courts on Tuesday during his testimony before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee. “Our country is the greatest untapped resource for our citizens are addicted,” said Sheen. “There is no better investment of this conference can do that in drug courts and courts of veterans.”

Currently operating in 50 states, drug courts offer drug offenders the opportunity to enter treatment programs as an alternative to imprisonment. Veterans courts use the same model, in coordination with VA medical centers and community resources for additional help veterans. The first cut veteran was called to order in 2008.

Sheen said he had helped found one of the first drug court systems, called Options, Berkeley, California in 1996. Today, he said, drug courts handle approximately 120,000 cases per year.

Sheen was accompanied at the hearing by “Friends” star Matthew Perry, Trey Anastasio of Phish leader and actor Harry Lennix, who all sat just behind him in the committee room.

Also present at the hearing was former Congressman Jim Ramstad (R-Minn.), an outspoken advocate of programs for recovery from addiction while in the House. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) thanked for attending Ramstad, noting that any other member of Congress, former Congressman Patrick Kennedy (DR.I.) struggled with addiction, “Ramstad was Jim who went to be at your side. ”

Other panelists included Benjamin Tucker, the deputy director of the state, local and tribal affairs in the White House Office of National Drug Control, Jeanne LaFazia, chief judge of the District Court of Rhode Island, Douglas Marlow, chief science, law and politics of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals and David Muhlhausen of the Heritage Foundation.

Sheen highlighted the promise of the courts of veterans to address the widespread problems of substance abuse and mental health problems among veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. “We ask much of our men and women in uniform and ask so little in return. Actually, they are often the last to seek advice or treatment,” he said. “It is our duty of care to our veterans who suffer as a result direct service to our country. ”

Witnesses also emphasized the cost savings to state and local drug courts and veterans of the courts. According to Marlow, the cost of one year of treatment on average is about $ 7,000, while the cost of incarceration is about $ 22,000.

These cost savings help explain why drug courts enjoy an extraordinarily wide range of bipartisan support in Congress, as demonstrated earlier in the day during a rally in Upper Senate Park. There, Sheen, Anastasio and Perry joined the Senators Paul Rand (R-Ken.) and Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), along with nearly a thousand professionals of drug courts.

Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.) said he decided to attend the hearing although he is not a member of the Subcommittee on Crime and the Judiciary, since “these are things of inspiration. Treatment is not always works, but I mean that as beyond this debt crisis … is really a return on investment [in the drug court], which saves money and saves lives. ”

Sheen spoke passionately about what he has seen among the graduates of drug court in recovery, saying that “you are witnessing a shift fragile, extraordinary, where a person who has suffered in all this chaos and luggage [comes] the miraculous possibility and the hope of returning to their community. “Sheen is a recovering alcoholic, and last year his son Charlie Sheen has dealt publicly with their long-standing problems of substance abuse.

After the hearing, both Sheen and Perry met with members of Congress for most of the afternoon.

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