New drug court will see first graduates - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

New drug court will see first graduates

IOWA CITY (KWWL) - The first graduating class of the Johnson County Drug Treatment Court program will be honored on Wednesday, November 18, 2009 at 1:30 pm at the Johnson County Courthouse.

Graduates of this program have completed a minimum of 15 months of intensely supervised probation and are preparing to successfully exit the program.

In the fall of 2007, the Sixth Judicial District Drug Treatment Court kicked off the start of two Drug Treatment Court Programs. The Linn County Drug Treatment Court Program began hearings on September 24, 2007; the Johnson County Program began hearings on February 23, 2008.

The Sixth Judicial District Drug Treatment Court Program is designed to provide intensive community supervision to probation clients who would be sent to prison if the program did not exist. Through supervision in the Drug Treatment Court Program, and through use of restorative justice principles, individuals are encouraged to invest in their community. By investing in the community and creating these ties to supportive services, individuals involved in the Drug Treatment Court Program are better equipped to be self-sufficient and able to maintain the positive changes they create even after community supervision is completed. The team rewards positive behavior with incentives, such as certificates, small prizes, and positive feedback from the judge. Negative behavior earns a sanction from the team, which could include loss of a privilege, an assignment of some sort, or jail time.

During the development of the programs, the steering committee decided these drug courts would address both substance use and mental health concerns of accepted clients. Therefore a member of the Drug Treatment Court has a formal license in behavioral health. In addition to this team member, there are representatives from the County Attorney, Defense Attorney, Substance Abuse Provider, and Department of Correctional Services. This team is then led by Judge Fae Hoover-Grinde. Since the program began, over half of the participants have been dually diagnosed; having both a substance abuse and mental health diagnosis.

First year program outcomes consist of sobriety, decreased victimization, decreased criminal activities, enrollment in higher education, employment of more than six months at the same job, involvement in supportive housing, community involvement with public speaking events, and the creation of community support groups. Over $1,800,000.00 was saved during the first 24 months the district operated the Drug Treatment Court Program, with more than $500,000 of that savings coming from the Johnson County program. Drug Treatment Courts are effective and essential programs to meet the mission of the Department of Corrections.


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