Judge Sandoval contacted Hythiam [a drug company] last year and with little public input or oversight, began a pilot program on 20 probationers in his court. On his website, Sandoval claimed to save the county $400,000 in the pilot tests.
Attempts by The Collin County Observer to see documentation of the financial claims were answered by Sandoval with, "This office has no records of the Prometa pilot program."
While Sandoval and Hythiam touted great successes with Collin County's program, others, including the county's own probation manager disputed the data.
In spite of it's spotty record, the last Texas Legislature appropriated $2 million for "Medically Targeted Substance Abuse Treatment" programs. The grants were written to allow more pilot program testing of Prometa. Collin County received a grant of $158,000 under this program. So far our inquiries have not found any experiments or expenditures of the grant money.
These pilot programs, whether funded by Hythiam or taxpayers are used by Hythiam as marketing tools. Look at the last pilot done in Collin County. All records are kept by the company. Collin County and Sandoval's court have little or no recruitment or results data. All was turned over to Hythiam, which then issued glowing press releases (and no data).
The lack of records is glaring, and troublesome - especially since one of Collin County's test subjects died before the end of the study. (The cause of death was noted as "suicide".)
All attempts by the Collin County Observer to gain insight into how the test subjects were recruited, what promises were made, and what rewards or consequences were offered were rebuffed by the county and court. Collin County and its court had no such records, even though many of the test subjects had just been released from jail - presumably to take part in the program.
Friday, March 07, 2008
Judge who promoted Prometa defeated at polls
While I've completely dropped the ball covering the dustup over a Collin County judge's questionable experimental sentencing of probationers to use of "Prometa," an anti-addiction medication, Bill Baumbach at the Collin County Observer has been all over it, and has another excellent post and roundup informing us that the judge in question was defeated at the polls on Tuesday. Reports Baumbach: