Commissioner’s Court adopts 2017-2018 Cass County budget
Cass County Commissioner’s Court adopted the county budget for fiscal year 2017-2018, Judge Donald Dowd spoke about Cass County’s drug court and Judge Becky Wilbanks announced that she will be running for re-election in 2018.
Judge Wilbanks spoke about her appreciation for the county employees and how honored she is to serve as a Cass County Judge.
“This time four years ago I informed the Commissioner’s Court during a public hearing on the proposed tax rate and budget that I was considering running for county judge and the rest is history, the past two years and eight and a half months have been the most gratifying of my 35 plus years in county government. The position of a judge is challenging, complex, rigorous and many times stressful. It is never dull or mundane, my time as a county judge has been very rewarding and I am proud of the accomplishments we as a court has made,” said Judge Wilbanks.
“Now folks the time has come for me to announce that I will be seeking my second term as Cass County Judge in the 2018 Republican primary, to those rumor mills that say I am not running, I don’t know where you get your information but you need to fact check first before spreading false narrative.”
Judge Dowd spoke about the drug court in Cass County and what it means to have a drug court.
“We are trying to keep the jail population down which I know the sheriff is interested in and your interested in, we have implemented several things to try and help with that,” said Judge Dowd.
“I would like to point out that the commissioners court approved five years ago to establish a drug court program in Cass County, it took a lot of time and work to do that and we are fortunate to have it being a smaller county, It gives us a very good alternative than just putting everybody in jail,” said Judge Dowd.
“I am pleased to report that the drug court doesn’t cost the county any money at all and never has, weve been able to get a grant from the governor’s office – we were also funded for the next year,” said Judge Dowd.
The grants provided from the state for the drug court are over $200,000 combined.
“The grant itself money goes toward testing which is a key component of the program and we have to pay a defense attorney, we are told what we have to have to have a drug court so these are not optional,” said Dowd.
“The drug court is a 18 month program and is not easy and that is why it works if it was any easier it wouldn’t work, all of the research shows that getting a person of getting over the addiction to drugs or alcohol is tough and you are not going to have a high success rate but those that are successful we are not going to get them back into the criminal justice system which is what our ultimate goal is,” said Judge Dowd.
“You might think why don’t you just stick them all in jail and we have tried that, I started as a prosecutor in 1974 in Bowie County, nationwide it doesn’t work and the stats are that 30 percent of those will be arrested again in eight months, 67 percent will be re-arrested and commit another crime within three years and 95 percent will relapse in three years,” said Judge Dowd.
“If you don’t have some type of treatment program for those that are addicted to drugs and alcohol they are going to come back and they are just going to cost more money,” said Judge Dowd.
There has been 152 people have been through the drug court in Cass County and 72 have successfully completed the drug program.
“We need your support and the support of the public – it is cheaper for someone to go through the drug program than them to go to the penitentiary,” said Judge Dowd
Judge Dowd also spoke about the Cass County probation department.
“We are very fortunate to have what I think is a very superior probation department and I believe the sheriff would agree with me, our probation officers do a wonderful job and I of course work them every day and they have to carry out our order and without them the orders that we make would basically ineffective,” said Judge Dowd.