The Malheur County S.A.F.E. (Stop Addiction For Ever) Court was established in January of 2001 in response to a growing incidence of non-violent drug and alcohol offenses. Despite extremely limited law enforcement activities targeting drug crimes, the District Attorney’s office was showing an increased number of substance abuse prosecutions. In 1999, there were 158 felony prosecutions for substance abuse violations, but in 2000 the number was 308, with no increase in enforcement activity. The vast majority of these cases involve methamphetamine (more commonly known as “crank”). Malheur County has had one of the highest rates of impaired driving arrests in the state for the last 30 years.
The Malheur County SAFE Court is a sentencing alternative for non-violent substance abusing offenders. It is important to note that this program is voluntary for all of its participants although the Court may give incentives for a person to enter the program (ie: reduced fines and/or jail time imposed). The SAFE Court program is an intensive drug and/or alcohol treatment program that is at least 1 year in duration. Participants can plan to meet with their treatment provider and probation officer several times per week, to drug test at least two times per week, and attend court sessions twice per month.
Through this program, participants have been known to regain custody of their children, obtain long term employment, complete a treatment program, experience holidays and special events sober for the first time in their adult lives.