DURANT — In celebration of the National Drug Court Month, the Bryan County Drug Court will hold a graduation ceremony at 7 p.m. today at the First Christian Church, Durant.
The Hon. Judge Thomas Landrith is expected to deliver the keynote address. This is the court’s 20th ceremony since it was founded in 2004.
More than 45 men and women are expected to be among this year’s graduates. The ceremony marks their completion of the intensive program of comprehensive drug treatment, close supervision, and full accountability.
National Drug Court Month is coordinated on a national level by the National Association of
Drug Court Professionals (NADCP). This year, Drug Courts throughout the nation are celebrating National Drug Court Month with the theme: ‘Drug Courts: Where Accountability Meets Compassion.” Next week’s uplifting commencement ceremony is evidence of the tremendous impact the Bryan County Drug Court has had on our community and will send a powerful message that Drug Courts are a proven budget solution that saves lives and money.
“The Bryan County Drug Court’s recidivism rate is lower than the national average. Less than 10% of our graduates have been rearrested since our court’s inception in 2004,” said Judge Farrel Hatch, who is the judge for the Bryan County Drug Court.
Like the other 2,600 operational Drug Courts in the United States, the Bryan County Drug Court is a judicially-supervised court docket that officials say reduces correctional costs, protects community safety, and improves public welfare. In Drug Courts, seriously drug-addicted individuals remain in treatment for long periods of time while under close supervision.
Drug Court participants must meet their obligation to themselves, their families, and society. To ensure accountability, they are regularly and randomly tested for drug use, required to appear frequently in court for the judge to review theft progress, rewarded for doing well and sanctioned for not living up to their obligations. Research continues to show that Drug Courts work better than jail or prison, better than probation, and better than treatment alone.
“It’s hard to find the words to express how thankful I am for the Drug Court program and all that it has done for my life, it saves and changes our lives, but it also mends the relationships with our family and friends and restores us to our community as law abiding, responsible and productive citizens., a Bryan County Drug Court graduate said.
The Bryan County Drug Court has successfully graduated 104 men and women who were trapped in the cycle of addiction and criminal behavior. The program is a five-phase intervention program for adults who have pleaded guilty to one or more felony offenses that are related to substance abuse and who struggle with staying clean and sober.
It is a collaborative effort between the Bryan County criminal justice system and treatment providers, which work closely together toward the goal of helping these individuals to change their lives and build a solid foundation of recovery.
The structure of this treatment intervention is centered on the authority and the personal involvement of the Drug Court Judge, the Honorable Farrell M. Hatch. Judge Hatch helped found the Bryan County Drug Court in 2004. The team is comprised of representatives from the District Attorney’s office, the Durant Police Department, the Bryan County Sheriff’s Office, local defense attorney(s), a mental health professional, treatment providers, and respected citizens of our community. Drug Court imposes strict supervision and intense treatment requirements, incentives for meeting and exceeding expectations, and sanctions for noncompliance.