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The Drug Courts Coordinating Commission looked at three areas of performance when assessing the grade: (1) the low number of repeat offenders that graduate from the 44th Circuit’s Drug Court; (2) the low cost per Drug Court participant; and (3) the Drug Court’s compliance with the 10-key Components for Drug Court operation.
Because of this “A” grade, the 44th Circuit’s Drug Court was awarded an additional $16,883.95 in operating funds from the Drug Court Coordinating Commission. The funds will be used for substance abuse treatment, drug and alcohol testing and monitoring, and participant services.
Drug Court is an alternative to traditional sentencing options, such as prison or regular probation. It couples intensive supervision and drug testing with intensive substance abuse counseling.
Participants in drug court also appear frequently before a judge where they are acknowledged for positive progress in the program and, if needed, sanctioned for negative behaviors. Drug Court decisions are made with a team approach with discussion of each participant in the program and each team member having a say in what action is appropriate.
Douglas County Associate Judge R. Craig Carter presides over Drug Court in Douglas and Ozark counties, while Wright County Associate Judge Lynette Veenstra presides over the Wright County Drug Court. The Prosecuting Attorneys for Douglas, Ozark, and Wright Counties, Roger Wall, Tom Cline, and Jason MacPherson, prosecute Drug Court cases.
Attorney Lee Pipkins is the defense counsel representative for Wright County, and Linda McKinney represents the defendants in Douglas and Ozark counties. Jennifer Horn is the 44th Circuit Drug Court Coordinator.
Probation Officers Pamela Burnett, Craig Chronister and Jeff Talley represent the Missouri Board of Probation and Parole, and the treatment counselor is Jeannie Rhoads-Ashley from Family Counseling, Incorporated.
The first participant was accepted into the 44th Circuit Drug Court Program in August 2000. Since that time, 359 felony drug or drug-related cases have entered the Program from the 44th Judicial Circuit, which includes Douglas, Ozark, and Wright counties. As of Aug. 3 of this year, 189 participants have graduated from the program with 45 currently active.
The 44th Judicial Circuit Drug Court Program provides intensive court supervised educational treatment services to non-violent felony drug offenders in an effort to reduce recidivism, build safer communities, and develop stronger family units by keeping families drug free and together. The Drug Court Program helps drug offenders overcome their addiction to chemical substances by providing them with the educational tools necessary to maintain life-long sobriety.