San Francisco is considering a novel approach to dealing with and reforming its chronic drunks. The program that would help solve some of the alcoholism in the city’s street population.

The plan, already being negotiated between the City’s courts and health department would call for judges to hold someone in contempt if they missed their court date. For many of the City’s homeless, their stack of missed appearance citations would amount to as much as 100 days in contempt. That time could be used for treatment to help get them off the booze.

The plan isn’t cut and dry, however. Jails are already surging with population under realignment, and accommodating a host of new inmates in a wing of the jail designed to provide rehab services could be logistically tricky. The program would be run by workers at the health department. It is the hope that with 30-days in the forcible rehab facility, the once-chronic drunks would be able to break their dependency.

According to Mayor Lee, who hopes that the pilot program could be operation in as little as 30 days, the top 68 most-offending chronic drunks cost the City millions of dollars in hospital visits. Helping them become sober is more than good will, it’s good fiscal policy.

Read the full article at the San Francisco Chronicle.