SAN ANTONIO – More than 10,000 domestic violence cases were on Judge Rosie Speedlin-Gonzalez’s docket alone last year. That number points to the need for a domestic violence drug court program, she said.
Speedlin-Gonzalez first proposed the court-supervised drug treatment program last year. Months later, the funding for the program is still in limbo.
“All of these specialty courts in the county and across the state and across the country have to, every year, go looking for monies to keep the courts up and running,” Speedlin-Gonzalez said.
Initially, she aimed for $1 million for the two-year pilot program. After meeting with people in the community and shaving down the proposal, she is now aiming for a total of $300,000.
Speedlin-Gonzalez said the cut in funds will only limit the number of participants in the program.
“Our biggest obstacle has been looking, finding funding for violent offenders because, in our court, everyone that comes to the door is categorized as a violent offender because it’s domestic violence court. And so, the monies for violent offenders are very limited,” Speedlin-Gonzalez said.
So far, Bexar County has provided $100,000 toward the pilot program.
Speedlin-Gonzalez said most of the defendants in domestic violence cases were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the incident.
“If we look at the individual and we look at their individual history, we're going to find that many of the people that are coming through this court are themselves … victims at some point in their lives. They've been traumatized. The substance came into their lives. Substance abuse as a way of coping and self-medicating,” Speedlin-Gonzalez said.
The $300,000 would pay for several things, including drug treatment, law enforcement, probation and trauma-informed counseling.
Speedlin-Gonzalez wants to start the program with 10 participants.
She said the court will be looking into applying for grants in April, and a tentative court launch is scheduled sometime between late February and early March.