UAB's TASC program facing budget cut

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Hundreds of people go through the doors of TASC every day. The program is run by UAB. It attempts to get those who bond out of jail to stay clean and to stay out of trouble.  But, the program's director says a big budget cut will hurt.

"Obviously we will not be able to give drug tests on every offender released from the county jail. That is something we do now. If a person is released they come to us." says TASC Director Foster Cook.
The Jefferson County Commission plans to vote on a budget which will cut TASC from $2.5 million to $1 million. The program was created as a way to keep the county jail population down. At one time Jefferson County was considering building a more than $100 million jail.
Presiding Jefferson County Court Judge Scott Vowell supports TASC."Drug users, not sellers have gone through drug treatment. As a result of that they have become productive citizens." says Vowell.
There are more than three thousand people being monitored and tested by TASC in Jefferson County. Cook says the budget cut will make that job almost impossible."We haven't had time to to sit down with the judges  and say do we put them back in jail or take them off monitoring We don't know yet." says Cook.
TASC has proven to be an aid to the Jefferson County Court system and to law enforcement. Judge Vowell says the courts will try to find additional funding but if not, the program will have to survive on its reduced budget."The bottom line result of this is we will not be a community as safe as we have now." says Vowell.