Rockland County will receive $329,000 in grant money from the U.S. Department of Justice to help it plan and implement its newly created misdemeanor drug court initiative, District Attorney Thomas Zugibe announced in a news release Monday.

The three years of grants totaling $329,504 were secured in a partnership between the district attorney's office and the county's Education & Assistance Corp. through the Justice Department's Adult Drug Court Discretionary Grant Program, the release said. The money will be used for case management, staff and support training, drug-testing supplies, participant incentives, technology, office supplies and program evaluation.

Drug treatment courts give nonviolent, addicted drug offenders a chance to enter into court-supervised treatment programs instead of serving prison sentences, according to the New York State Unified Court System's website. Rules of participation are defined clearly in a contract agreed upon by the defendant, the defendant's attorney, the district attorney and the court.

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Rockland previously has operated a misdemeanor drug court, according to the release, but in 2003 it was taken over by the state and directed to include felony cases.

The state Office of Court Administration has designated Spring Valley Village Court as the hub court to hear eligible misdemeanor drug and alcohol cases from every town and village court in Rockland County, according to the release.