Attorneys Fight Last-Ditch Battle To Save Treatment Programs


Broward’s defense lawyers are fighting to the end to save treatment programs for jail inmates.

They want lawyers and others to contact county commissioners, asking that the programs be kept operating.

The substance abuse treatment programs are due to end after this week because of the budget cuts, according to The Miami Herald. 

I agree with the attorneys.

Any money spent to help  inmates overcome substance abuse is money well-spent.

Substance abuse is the major cause of crime in this nation.  If treatment can break the cycle of addiction, it benefits all Broward residents. 

If the program can get one inmate off drugs or alcohol, how much hurt will be prevented?   How many burglaries won’t happen?  Car wreaks avoided?

I know county commissioners are getting flooded with e-mails not to cut library or park hours.  But treatment programs are more important.  They are a matter of life and death. 

The life could be yours.

Below  is the criminal defense lawyers’ news release.  One mistake they made is in the contact information for the commission, like not including an e-mail address.  I helped them by recrafting the contact information.

All bold face type is in the original. I changed the news release to red type to make it stand out.  My redone contact information returns to black type :


For Immediate Release                                         Contact:           Ira Still, Esquire

                                                                                                            Board of Directors BACDL


                        Phone: (305) 303-0853



The Broward Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
held its “Forum on In-Custody Jail Treatment Programs

An informative discussion concerning the impact of budget cuts on in-custody treatment programs and the federally mandated Jail Caps for Broward County


Fort Lauderdale, FL (July 25, 2009) The Broward Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (BACDL), an independent Bar Association, held a forum discussion on the effects of budget cuts to the Sheriff’s operating budget by the Broward County Commission.  As a result of these budget cuts, the Stockade has been closed and all of the Sheriff’s in-custody jail treatment programs will come to an abrupt halt on October 1, 2009.   Four distinguished speakers addressed the audience in the jury room of the Broward County Courthouse on Friday, July 24, 2009:    Kristina Gulick, Director of BSO Department of Community Control; Felony Drug Court Judge Marcia Beach; Chief Judge Victor Tobin; and Public Defender Howard Finkelstein.


One of the highly successful jail treatment programs is the ATACC Drug Program.   ATACC runs at a cost of $11,700 per inmate but upon successful completion of the program the inmate’s 12 month sentence is mitigated to only 3 months thereby saving the taxpayers $28,000 per inmate per year.  Operating the ATACC program saves the County a total of over $10 million every year. The other programs have similar numbers and savings. 


Broward County is subject to a Federal Court mandate concerning Jail Caps.  Operational effectiveness in the jails maxes out when inmate population reaches 87% of jail bed capacity.  Once those Caps are exceeded, the County is liable to pay damages on a per diem basis pursuant to the federal mandate.  As soon as the Stockade was closed and the treatment programs are cut, the County is automatically in violation of the federal court mandate.  This will cost the County additional sums until it finds a way to get back into compliance.  


BACDL’s Forum was very successful in educating Criminal Justice System Professionals on the issues confronting the Broward County Commission as it seeks to find funding for reinstating the in-custody jail treatment programs.  The Commission will consider the budget cuts during two meetings set in September.  BACDL urges all residents to write to the County Commissioners telling them to reinstate these jail treatment programs.  The Commissioners and their mailing addresses are:

The county commissioners are Mayor Stacy Ritter, Vice Mayor Ken Keechl and Commissioners Josephus Eggelletion Jr., Sue Gunzburger, Kristin Jacobs, Ilene Lieberman,  John Rodstrom, Diana Wasserman-Rubin and Lois Wexler.

All county commissioners can be reached at 115 South Andrews Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, 33301.  The main telephone number for the county commission offices is 954-357-7000. 

Commissioners can be contacted by e-mail.  Their addresses are the first initial, last name, followed by For instance, 


Be advised that they are currently on their summer break.


5 Responses to “Attorneys Fight Last-Ditch Battle To Save Treatment Programs”

  1. Must Cut says:

    Everybody believes the funding for their favorite government programs shouldn’t be reduced. Everybody must share in the pain, including the treatment programs. Instead of ending them, maybe just cut them back.

  2. David W. Singer says:

    This and other treatment programs have been very successful.Yes, people go back to the addictive behavior (these substances have a powerful hold),but there are many,many “cures”.

    In the long run,the absence of these programs will be a far greater drain on the system,than funding them.

  3. Overhead says:

    County salaries are bloated compared with tje private or non-profit sectors for the same jobs. And county fringe benefits and overhead runs obscenely around 60% of salary. Of course those programs are not affordable. The county needs to put those programs out to bid. They will save tons of money that way and run the programs every bit as well if not better than now. Face it, social service and civil service has never been so great a mix. Let others a chance to run those programs better at less cost to taxpayers.

  4. Interesting says:

    I think the Federal mandate kicks in when jail cap reaches 97% not 87%.
    I fairly sure that I am right.

  5. lawyers says:

    If my brother is arrested for a serious issue is it recommended that he hire a lawyer ?????