Cobb County is considering an employment program for people enrolled in substance-abuse accountability courts, according to an article in the Marietta Daily Journal.

Accountability courts offer eligible defendants rehabilitation and treatment as an alternative to conviction and jail time.

Cobb County would be one of the first counties in Georgia to offer the program.

According to the MDJ, the Rehabilitation, Education and Career Training program “would create a partnership between the courts and CobbWorks to provide tailored employment and workforce development services to individuals enrolled in either the Veterans Treatment Court, the Mental Health Court, the Family Dependency Treatment Court or the Drug Treatment Court, which are all courts governed by Cobb Superior Court.”

A $120,000 state grant would fund the pilot program and if it’s successful, the program could spread to other Georgia jurisdictions, according to the article.

Georgia leads the country in the number of people placed under correctional supervision, according to In 2009, the Pew Center on the States reported that approximately 1 in 13 adult Georgians are either in jail, in prison, on probation, or on parole, as compared to 1 in 31 adults nationally.

Within three years, two-thirds of those released from prison will likely have been rearrested. In some of our poorest communities as many as one out of five adult men are behind bars on any given day, and children who grow up in such neighborhoods are more likely to end up in prison themselves. The cost of recidivism to our communities, to public safety, and to taxpayers is unsustainable, notes.

CobbWorks CEO John Helton told the MDJ the organization was approached by the state after it had trouble attracting voluntary participants to its program. The accountability courts, he suggested, provided users who had already chosen treatment over traditional sentencing and would be receptive to assistance. Those individuals already have case managers to help them meet court-ordered requirements.

Helton said CobbWorks would tailor its support to each individual. “Assistance could come in the form of direct job placement, GED attainment, help with post-secondary education, skills training or a combination thereof,” according to the article.

Initial funding is only available through June to serve 50 individuals, Helton expressed in the article. But he told the MDJ he is confident the state will offer additional funding to keep it going if the program is successful.