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Missouri chief justice calls for more drug courts

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Chief Justice Zel Fischer is calling to expand drug treatment courts to help fight opioid misuse.

Fischer in prepared remarks for the annual State of the Judiciary Wednesday said he expects treatment courts will be on the front lines of the opioid epidemic.

But Fischer says admission into the programs has dropped an average of 23 percent since a 27-percent funding cut this fiscal year. He added that there are 15 counties now without any access to treatment courts.

Fischer also says a task force of judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys is considering changes to bail policies. He says jail space should be reserved for defendants who pose the most danger to communities or are most likely to run away, not those who are too poor to post bail.