In response to the Nov. 21 article about Dixon/Lee County, Illinois, drug program, I find it to be an intelligent program in that they do not include those with pending criminal or drug charges — one will do/say anything when awaiting trial or sentencing. Having worked in the criminal justice system over 17 years in Illinois and Idaho, it became obvious to me that all the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on treatment and programs are mostly wasted. In Illinois I did a follow-up on the success rate of dozens of juveniles who had been placed into residential treatment facilities — they all had done superior work while in the programs, but once they returned home, all but a couple fell back into their criminal activity and/or use of drugs/alcohol. It became clear to me that these juveniles needed “family” treatment years before entering the legal system. I believe funds should be poured into early education to assist in identifying dysfunctional families so that the whole family can be helped. Once these children of dysfunctional homes reach high school or adult status, hostile behaviors and criminal thinking is well established, so changing that behavior is much harder and more costly.
Jane Graham, Boise