Today is the 25th anniversary of the Miami-Dade drug court and the movement that spawned similar courts across the country including here in Yakima.

Yakima County Court Consultant Harold Dehlia says 13 years ago Yakima started the first drug court in the state to help people overcome drug problems. Then three years ago they added a drug and mental health court. Most recently a gang court was instituted.

Dehlia says the aim is to address problems to keep people out of jail.

We did a study on drug court two years ago and it showed 90 percent of the people who went through drug court are back in the community and hadn’t committed a crime over a three-year period.

Dehlia says there are now more than 2,800 drug courts nationwide and they are considered the foundation of criminal justice reform sweeping the nation, changing the course of a “lock-em up” philosophy in America and proving that treatment does work when accompanied by accountability.

Dehlia says the courts are helping more than 150 people in the county every year.