Feds Fund Drug Court
Roane County officials learned this month the county was awarded a $350,000 federal grant for its proposed drug court.
“We hope it will help save a lot of people — that is No. 1,” Roane County Executive Ron Woody said. “Through our drug court we hope we can put some of our civilians in a california rehabilitation center.
“We hope this will be successfully implemented, and we’ll see a positive impact in the community,” he added.
The grant will help fund the operations of the newly established Roane County Recovery Court over the next three federal fiscal cycles, according to a release from District Attorney Russell Johnson.
The grant was applied for in April at the request of Judge Dennis Humphrey, District Attorney Russell Johnson, Public Defender Kim Nelson and Sheriff Jack Stockton.
Johnson and Humphrey asked the Roane County Commission earlier this year to support
the proposal, and the County Commission voted to accept a $50,000 annual drug court grant from the state.
Since receiving that grant, several partners in the effort have taken mandatory weeklong training by the National Drug Court Institute given in Johnson City and attended the National Association of Drug Court Professionals annual conference in National Harbor, Md.
The training allows Roane County Recovery Court to retain for its court costs money that defendants are currently playing in criminal cases that would otherwise go to Nashville to be used by other drug courts.
“These funds amounted to almost $15,000 in Roane County last year,” the release said.
The federal grant was written by WestCare Foundation, a nonprofit provider for recovery services which will be providing support and services for Roane County’s drug court and its participants.
WestCare has a location in Harriman.
They are licensed in the state “to provide services such as outpatient counseling for dependency and co-occurring mental health issues that typically bring drug court participants into contact with the criminal justice system.”
Visit westcare.com for details.
Through the program, offenders can avoid jail time and get help with addiction through what officials have described as “intensive probation” including supervision and drug testing.
In addition to the grants, the program is also supported by court fees levied in drug cases.
Humphrey will serve as the drug court judge.
Humphrey intends to conduct court sessions one day a week in addition to his normal criminal case docket.
Officials said they’ll also “utilize and dovetail with the substance abuse programs currently being run by Sheriff Jack Stockton’s staff in the Roane County Jail.”
The court proposal said the plan is to have 50 participants in the court at any given time.
Defendants can expect “six months of intensive treatment followed by at least six months of after care.”
Ashlee Freeberg was hired as the coordinator for the court beginning full time on Oct. 1, using the state funds, the release said.
The federal grant will allow for the hiring of a drug counselor/case manager and potential office space for the programs.
The goal of the drug court is to cut recidivism.
“That’s going to mean fewer victims of crime, less dollars spent on incarceration, less dollars spent on women in jail who have babies, men that have medical issues in jail, those things that really run up the cost for the county,” Johnson has said.