Another story from the weekend: A new 300-bed drug treatment facility is set to open next week. It's already in demand.
As of last week, county probation officials said, 170 men and 48 women were waiting.
Officials hope to cut the waiting time and ease jail overcrowding when they open their new 300-bed drug treatment facility, for men on probation, in the renovated Peden Building.
They expect to open a portion of the center - at 600 N. San Jacinto, a stone's throw from the downtown jail complex - on June 5, with the rest of the building going into use in early July.
The center, one of five county residential treatment programs, is designed to help men complete their probation and become productive members of society.
"Some people don't need to be incarcerated, but need intensive treatment," said Kim Valentine, interim director of the county's Community Supervision and Corrections Department.
State District Judge Caprice Cosper said that jailing substance abusers without helping them overcome their problem does little to prevent them from breaking the law again and clogging the court system.
"The fact is, most judges don't want people who want treatment sitting in jail," Cosper said. "As judges, we have a responsibility ... to see that people put on probation are given the resources they need to succeed."
County officials also hope the new center will help relieve the overcrowded jail, where the daily inmate population hovers around 9,000.