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McCracken County Drug Court program awarded $1.2 million grant to help participants who are the hardest to treat, have fewest resources

Friday, 12 14, 2012

Jamie Neal
Public Information Specialist
502-573-2350, x 50033
jamieneal@kycourts.net
http://courts.ky.gov

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- The McCracken County Adult Drug Court program has been awarded a $1.2 million federal grant to help participants who are the most difficult to treat and have the fewest resources to successfully complete the Drug Court program and obtain education and work. The program received the grant in October and will begin using the funds in early 2013.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance awarded the program a joint grant to expand treatment services, including job coaching and counseling, and assist participants with education expenses, housing, transportation, child care and other needs. The funds are to assist participants who struggle with employment issues, suffer with mental health problems and/or lack basic education.

“When a person has less than a rudimentary education or has a mental health issue or can’t attend work or school because there’s no ride or child care available, that is a major roadblock for them on their road to recovering and rejoining society,” said McCracken County Circuit Court Judge Tim Kaltenbach, who volunteers his time to conduct Drug Court proceedings. “Participants with these circumstances need help in addition to what Drug Court provides and, thanks to the grant, they’ll be able to get it. With this type of assistance, participants have an improved chance of staying sober, being successful in Drug Court, feeling better about themselves and becoming productive members of our community.” 

Under the grant, the Drug Court program will use the Assertive Community Treatment Model, which is designed to enhance the chances of success for participants who need assistance beyond traditional treatment. The model calls for increased case management and a multidisciplinary team approach. The McCracken County grant funds will pay to have a substance abuse counselor, peer recovery coach and case manager work with participants. The counselor’s duties include providing counseling and enhanced treatment for individuals and groups of participants. Treatment is in the form of educational programs. The peer recovery coach and the case manager conduct home and jail visits, lead mentoring groups and offer job coaching and transportation for participants. The peer recovery coach also offers extra emotional support for participants and the case manager oversees each participant’s case.

SAMHSA’s portion of the joint grant is for enhanced treatment and is $325,000 a year for three years for a total of $975,000. BJA provided $300,000 for wrap-around services such as assistance with education expenses, housing, transportation, child care and other needs.

“We’re grateful for this funding,” said Randa Simpson, regional supervisor for the McCracken County Drug Court program. “Drug Court provides an array of substance abuse education and treatment services but now we’ll be able to help specific participants in ways that we couldn’t before and, I hope, get them on the path to reclaiming their lives for good.”

Kentucky Drug Court programs are funded with state money approved by the Kentucky General Assembly. State funds are for treatment, drug testing, home visits and other services but do not cover wrap-around services like housing and clothing.

“The Drug Court team in McCracken County has worked hard to get the program where it is today and meet the criteria for federal grant money,” said Connie Neal, who oversees specialty courts for the state court system. “I’m looking forward to seeing the funding put to use to help participants succeed long term.”

In addition to Judge Kaltenbach, Simpson and other Drug Court staff, the McCracken County Drug Court team members are the commonwealth’s attorney, a public defender, law enforcement officers, treatment providers, a pretrial officer and a probation officer.

There are 46 participants in the McCracken County Drug Court program. Eighty-one participants have graduated from the program since it began in March 2005. Twelve drug-free babies have been born to McCracken County participants.

About Kentucky Drug Court
Kentucky Drug Court is administered through the Administrative Office of the Courts in Frankfort, which oversees 55 adult programs that serve 115 counties. Drug Court’s mission is to provide court-supervised treatment as an alternative to incarceration. The program’s success can be measured in the number of lives changed and the cost savings to Kentucky taxpayers. For every $1 spent on Drug Court graduates, the state saves $2.72 on what it would have spent on incarcerating these individuals.

The program has helped reduce illicit drug use and related criminal activity and lowered rearrest, reconviction and reincarceration rates. It has increased payments of delinquent child support and improved employment rates. As of June 30, 2012, 5,370 individuals had graduated from Drug Court programs statewide and participants had paid $3.5 million in child support and $3.9 million in court obligations, including restitution and fines.

Drug Court coordinates the efforts of the judiciary, prosecution, defense bar, probation, law enforcement, mental health, social services and treatment communities to actively intervene and break the cycle of substance abuse, addiction and crime. The program consists of three phases that last at least one year and are followed by aftercare. Drug Court staff and participants work together to develop individual program plans with specific responsibilities and goals with timetables. Plans include group, family and individual counseling; frequent and random urine testing; education and vocational training; scheduled payments of restitution, child support and court fees; and health and community activities. Participants report directly to their Drug Court judge, who rewards progress and sanctions noncompliance.

When participants successfully complete the program, charges may be dismissed through diversion, or conditional discharge may be granted through probation. Judges who participate in Drug Court volunteer their time to the program.

Administrative Office of the Courts
The AOC is the operations arm for the state court system and supports the activities of nearly 3,300 court system employees and 403 elected justices, judges and circuit court clerks. As the fiscal agent for the state court system, the AOC also executes the Judicial Branch budget.

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