Palm Beach County opens its drug court

first_imgPalm Beach County opens its drug court April 15, 2001 Jan Pudlow Associate Editor Regular News Palm Beach County opens its drug court Associate Editor “You’ve tried to quit on your own, haven’t you?” Palm Beach County Judge Nelson Bailey asks in a voice that is both firm and kind. “We recognize your addiction does not mean you’re a bad person trying to get good. It means you’re a sick person trying to get better.” Welcome to Palm Beach County Drug Court, Florida’s newest addition to more than 660 drug courts across the country. It’s been a long time coming. Palm Beach County had wanted its own drug court for nearly a decade, after touring the nation’s original Dade County Drug Court in 1991 and coming home excited about the concept. Finally, Palm Beach persevered and got the funding, planning, and philosophical kinks worked out to offer the voluntary option to drug defendants on November 6, 2000. Now, the program is waiting to see if it will get a $500,000 federal grant that would allow the program to expand beyond its current capacity of 125 participants. “I hope it meets the need that we intend it to — that we are basically able to decrease substance abuse dependency and, therefore, crime,” said Diana Cunningham, director of the Palm Beach County Criminal Justice Commission, the policy planning group that helped get the new drug court up and running. What began in 1989 as an experiment by the Dade County Circuit Court to stop the revolving door of drug defendants who couldn’t stay clean and went in and out of jail, has become a national movement. Now, there are drug courts underway in 48 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, a number of Native American Tribal Courts and one federal district court, according to the Drug Courts Program Office, of the U.S. Department of Justice. Nearly 100,000 drug dependent offenders have entered drug court programs since their inception, and more than 70 percent are either still enrolled or have graduated — more than double the rate of traditional treatment program retention rates, according to the Drug Courts Program Office. Though drug courts may individually vary, what they have in common is using the power of a judge to oversee an intensive, community-based, treatment, rehabilitation, and supervision program for felony drug defendants — with the recognition that drug addicts will have relapses. “I think a healthy part of the program is the recognition that relapse. . . is part of the program,” said 15th Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Walter Colbath. “It’s all about helping them become responsible for their own behavior and reward them for positive progress. It’s all about responsibility.” In Palm Beach County, first-time, non-violent felony substance abuse offenders must admit they have a drug problem and volunteer for drug court. If the defendant successfully completes the yearlong program, the State Attorney’s Office drops the charges against them. The team effort between the State Attorney, Public Defender, Court Administration, Department of Corrections probation officers, Sheriff’s Office, and health care drug abuse service providers not only works to help defendants get off drugs, but to complete their educations and find jobs. “It is fulfilling the need and then some,” said Judge Bailey. “As a judge, it’s been a really refreshing experience. Before drug court, we could give them probation and a jail sentence with in-house treatment. In those schemes, if they fell off the wagon or violated any terms, their probation was violated. And they were looking at jail time. Period. Under the drug court scheme, it recognizes that people with addictions have relapses.” When random urine tests show a defendant has tested positive for cocaine or marijuana, there is a penalty — such as community service work or a weekend in jail — but they remain in the program. Rewards for not missing treatment sessions may come in the form of tickets to sporting events or donations of dinners at area restaurants. The key is close supervision, and the team sits down every week to do a staffing, where recommendations for rewards and sanctions are discussed. “We know the names of their wives and girlfriends,” said Assistant State Attorney Marty Epstein. “We’ve had individuals walk up to us and say, `I could not have been this clean for five months without drug court.’ Others say, `I’m coming to you and asking you to put me into custody.’ When someone says, `I don’t want to be removed from drug court, I’m quite willing to do the sanction,’ it tells you quite a bit about the program. It makes them take notice of themselves.” While the program can now handle about 125 participants, Epstein says the actual need could easily reach 1,000 — as it is in neighboring Broward County’s Drug Court. But, first, Palm Beach’s funding must be enhanced, and their hopes are now set on that $500,000 federal implementation grant. As head of the Palm Beach County Criminal Justice Commission, Cunningham has been there every step of the way and traced the many hurdles that had to be overcome. “In 1991, we learned about Miami’s Drug Court and a group toured it. Everyone was excited. But our chief judge at the time felt we needed a specialty court and put in approval for another judge, but got turned down,” Cunningham recalled. When Barry Krischer became state attorney, he was a believer in treatment for drug offenders and started a drug diversion program without a judge, called the Prosecutor’s Alternative Drug Division, she said. And while that PAD program was better than nothing, Cunningham said, it did not have the success rate of drug courts that use the authority of a judge to keep participants on track. Meanwhile, about two and half years ago, the Bureau of Justice sent out information explaining a change in definition of a drug court. No longer was it required to be a separate division of the courts, just a separate docket. Cunningham helped sell the idea to the judges, who voted unanimously to try for a federal planning grant. Successfully receiving that $30,000 planning grant, combined with a $10,000 local match, the Drug Court Planning Committee, chaired by Judge Bailey, was established in July 1999. For 18 months, more than 40 people, including a core drug team of six members, planned for the day the program would be up and running to accept its first volunteer defendants. Local matching money for state or federal grants, Cunningham said, is boosted by the $150,000 a year collected from the Drug Abuse Trust Fund, where defendants in every plea agreement on any crime are assessed $50 for felonies and $25 for misdemeanors. The Palm Beach County Drug Court does have a sliding fee scale for participants, ranging from $357 to $3,579 for the year-long treatment program. As 15th Judicial Circuit Court Administrator Sue Ferrante said, “It’s part of their treatment to take responsibility,” but she added it’s too new of a program to see how much money will actually be collected from participants. A county-funded secretary was redirected to the drug court team, Ferrante said. And two state positions — coordinator and administrative assistant — are in the budget. “One good thing is that the governor and the Florida Supreme Court support drug courts,” said Chief Judge Colbath. “That may be the only thing they see eye to eye on.” Colbath added: “We delayed opening a drug court, primarily, until appropriate treatment facilities were in place or those that existed signed on to the concept, so you didn’t put somebody into the program and then send them out to the environment from which they came and say, `We’ll contact you when a bed opens.’ They need to go from the courtroom right to the treatment facility. That is what is happening now.. . . We really keep a very close watch on them.” And as Judge Bailey promises his Palm Beach County Drug Court participants: “We’ll take time and not give up on you, if you will stick with the program.. . . You really do have to want it, but you can do it.. . . Remember, you don’t have to live the way you are living now.”last_img

Onsite: Regulatory relief hot topic at NAFCU Annual in Montreal

first_imgThe NAFCU Annual Conference is in full swing in Montreal (if you’ve never been it’s an amazing city, add it to your must see list), with the largest turn out ever; in fact 100 more came than were actually registered!In today’s general session Chairman Debbie Matz, from The NCUA spoke on a topic that has been front and center of many conversations within the industry; regulatory relief. She acknowledge that there is a still a long way to go, but that the goal and theme is simple: Give the decision making power back to the credit unions, so that we can strengthen them for generations to come.In her speech she highlighted 6 ways that The NCUA is working to give that control back to the credit unions, and while regulatory relief might make you groan in pain now, I am confident that much of this list will have you nodding with approval.Expand the field of membership: Credit unions are going to have the power to expand their current field of membership WITHOUT having to wait for NCUA approval.Remove the fixed asset limit: There are certain costs and improvements you need that just can’t be avoided and need to happen to help your credit union run smoothly; now you can do those things WITHOUT so much red tape holding you back.Permit Asset Securitization (pretty straight forward)Easing Member Business Lending: Credit unions are going to establish their own lending limits, in fact NCUA is going to be completely removed from the process and no personal guarantees will be required.Supplemental Capital: This will be effective in 2019, except for credit unions that are designated low-income, because they can’t afford to wait until 2019.Exemption: The limit will be raised to exempt credit unions up to $100 Million (meaning 3 out of 4 would qualify).Credit unions, the ball in being placed in our court; we need to take these opportunities and run with them. We’ve been asking for more control and the bottom line of this session was that you know your members needs better than the NCUA and they recognize that. While these victories are great, the NAFCU Regulatory panel reminded us that there is still a long road ahead of us! Continue to stay active and involved with your senators. Continue to share your stories and make your voices heard. We have a powerful message, let everyone hear it. 6SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Amanda Reed Web: Detailslast_img read more

In Zagreb, due to the development of tourism, the demand for real estate is higher than the supply

first_imgAccording to the data Classifieds average asking prices of Zagreb apartments in July recorded an increase in value compared to the same month in 2015 and 2016.The biggest annual change was recorded in Novi Zagreb, where the advertised July prices were 6,4 percent higher than in the same month last year, and for one square meter, according to, an average of 1349 euros was demanded.In the western part of Zagreb, apartment prices recorded the smallest changes, and in July they were 2,9 percent higher than in the same month last year. The average asking price of apartments there was 1513 euros per “square”. In the eastern part of the city, prices rose by 4 percent annually, averaging 1576 euros per square meter during July. In addition to the increase in apartment prices, a significant increase in demand was recorded in that part of Zagreb. Ivana Čikić, owner of the real estate agency Dom ekspert doo from Sesvete, said that the situation on the market there was extremely good and that sales had increased significantly: “New construction for sale, but also older real estate. Demand is quite high, so those properties that have been on the market for some time are also for sale. ”Points out Čikić and adds that in that part of the city the demand is currently higher than the supply, and there is a lack of exactly the kind of real estate that is currently most in demand, namely two-bedroom, three-bedroom and larger apartments with a good layout.The most sought after apartments in the city centerData from showed that in the center of Zagreb, the average advertised price of apartments was 1991 euros per “square meter”, which is 5,8 percent higher than in the same month last year, and 4,5 percent higher than in 2015. When it comes to demand, the center remained the part of the city in July where the offer of apartments for sale was most searched through the advertisement. It is not news that apartments in Zagreb are more in demand than in other cities, and in addition to housing, they have recently been bought to be converted into accommodation units for daily rent – for which there is great interest from foreign and domestic tourists.Passing through the center of Zagreb, it sometimes seems that the number of tourists and the number of accommodation units offered to them is growing at the same rate. Bruno Babić, head of the network “Apartments in the center of Zagreb” for says that the Zagreb market is already oversaturated in the offer: “In 2013, there were 250 units. Today there are 3000 of them and the number is growing rapidly. The center is attractive to visitors without a car, while the surrounding neighborhoods are interesting if they offer free parking. Apart from foreign tourists, there are local people eager for Zagreb Christmas, concerts, festivals, etc., there are also businessmen who are not a negligible share and a large part of Croatia and surrounding countries who come to Zagreb for health reasons, both aesthetic and much more important.. ”Babić concludedlast_img read more

New Xbox due out before Christmas 2013

first_imgEvidence is mounting that Microsoft is entering the final stages of preparation for the next Xbox console. We’ve seen an increase in security at the Xbox buildings on the Microsoft campus, increased chatter from game developers about the next generation of consoles, and now comes a report that Microsoft’s next console will be hitting shelves before the 2013 holiday season. The report is complete with (some what sketchy) details about exactly how the company will actually unveil the new console.There’s been a lot of talk about Microsoft’s future plans when it comes to gaming. We’ve seen the rumors of an Xbox tablet, we’ve seen supposed names like “Xbox 720″, and we’ve hear talk of a lower cost Xbox that is used for casual gaming and streaming content. If you put all of that together, Microsoft’s Xbox division is pretty busy right now. A refresh to the popular console seems like a must at this point. Despite Microsoft’s talk of how proud they are that the industry has been able to change the rules regarding how long a console is supposed to last, a hardware refresh would open a lot of doors for the gaming industry as a whole.As Project Durango gets closer and closer to reality, and patents for augmented reality glasses start to appear, the rumors surrounding what could be get pretty intense. There’s a few things that make a lot of sense, like a a deeper integration with Kinect 2 and a focus on delivering way more than just games to the console. Speculating on hardware at this point doesn’t make a lot of sense, though it seems likely that the controller will be up for tweaking to fit more with a Kinect 2 focused design. We know that companies like Crytek and Rare are already hiring developers to take advantage of the new hardware as well.If Microsoft is to unveil new hardware this year, they are likely to make quite a show out of it. It’s possible that Microsoft would try to steal the show at E3, but it is just as likely that the company would assemble their own press event for the hardware. Microsoft had no problem using the Xbox 360 to stream their E3 announcement this year, delivering a massive captive audience to the news. Microsoft could easily take advantage of that same audience to announce their new hardware, whenever it actually arrives.via Bloomberglast_img read more