County Celebrates National Drug Court Month

Post Date:05/17/2016 8:56 AM

Local Drug Court Graduates 100th Participant
County Celebrates National Drug Court Month

The Eau Claire County Drug Court will celebrate a milestone Wednesday morning when the program is scheduled to graduate the 100th participant to successfully complete the program. The 8:30 AM ceremony in the Branch II courtroom also coincides with National Drug Court Month, which is celebrated nationally each May.

In addition to the graduation, the event will feature comments from presiding Judge Michael Schumacher and other major stakeholders, as well as a panel of past treatment court graduates. Those interested in how treatment court teams collaborate to serve participants also may witness a public “staffing” prior to court, during which team members share updates on participant achievements and challenges during the week and discuss appropriate responses.

Eau Claire County began operating its Drug Court in 2004, followed by the Alternatives to Incarcerating Mothers (AIM) Court in 2007, Mental Health Court in 2008 and Chippewa Valley Veterans Treatment Court in 2011. Since then, the four courts combined have served 464 participants.

The treatment courts provide a community-based alternative to incarceration for high risk individuals in the criminal justice system – those most likely to reoffend – who exhibit substance dependencies and/or mental health conditions. By targeting treatment toward those factors underlying criminal behavior, the courts seek to prevent those individuals from continuing to cycle through the criminal justice system, thereby promoting community safety and healthier, intact families.

According to the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, nearly 3,000 drug courts and other types of treatment courts have graduated 1.4 million participants since 1989. Wisconsin counties and tribes currently operate 75 such courts. Research indicates that these programs save approximately $13,000 per participant in criminal justice system costs.

Participants appear regularly before a judge to discuss program status, meet with a case manager and probation agent to develop a service plan and assess progress, undergo drug and alcohol testing at least twice per week, attend treatment and participate in other activities designed to enhance accountability and promote long-term recovery.

Schumacher lauded Wednesday’s event as a reminder of the lasting impact on families, as well as program participants, of the treatment courts program.

“It is exciting to consider the ripple effect caused by 100 graduates of Drug Court,” Schumacher said. “Think of all the people whose lives are different because their father, mother, son, daughter, brother or sister is clean and sober.”

For more information, contact Melissa Ives 715.839.7081

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