We all have heard the Chinese proverb "give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."
We're reminded of that after reading this week the story that Alcona County Probate Judge Laura Frawley was recognized by the Michigan Association of Drug Court Professionals for running one of most successful drug courts in Michigan.
For years now law officers, the courts and substance abuse counselors have tried to work together to get at the root of crimes involving substance abuse issues. While incarceration certainly works, and is still an option, often a better alternative to that is educating the abuser about the choices they make, offering them support and counseling them through their addictions.
In Alcona County last year, only 14 percent of those who went through the county's drug and sobriety court ended up back there as repeat offenders.
While the main benefit to a successful drug court is the rehabilitation of the offender into a contributing member of society, certainly a secondary benefit for citizens is the cost saved them from not having to jail the offender.
Alcona County, and in particular Judge Frawley, have done a remarkable job in giving offenders an opportunity to turn their lives around.