Councilman Scott Wagner among those to speak at treatment court graduations for National Drug Court Month
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 12, 2015
The Kansas City, Mo., Municipal Court will hold graduation ceremonies for successful participants of its Drug Court and Veteran’s Treatment Court programs. The celebrations are part of the court’s activities for National Drug Court Month celebration.
The Veterans’ Treatment Court graduation begins at 2 p.m. Wednesday, May 13 in Courtroom B. Councilman Scott Wagner will be the speaker and will make a special presentation to the Veterans’ Treatment Court. The Drug Court graduation was held on May 7, and included remarks from counselor Gary Dumas.
To qualify for graduation, the 5 Drug Court and 5 Veterans’ Treatment Court participants had to complete at least one year with their program and six months of treatment. They also had to demonstrate at least six months of sobriety.
The programs are two of the City’s problem-solving courts that provide qualifying offenders with services like substance abuse treatment and/or mental health treatment in lieu of jail time.
Drug Court began in 2002 and was formalized in 2007. For a minimum of one year, participants receive intensive treatment, live in sober and stable housing, submit to random drug testing and review their progress frequently with the Drug Court judge and the Drug Court team. This ensures they are attending treatment as expected, staying clean and sober and obeying the law. They are rewarded for doing well with small incentives and may be sanctioned when they do not comply with a court order or condition of the program. Approximately 60% of offenders who appear in Municipal Drug Court successfully complete the program each year, and over 150 persons have graduated from the program since 2007.
Veterans’ Treatment Court began in 2009 and offers substance abuse treatment and/or mental health treatment to veterans with an identified treatment need. They often connect with the Kanas City Veterans Affairs Medical Center for the first time through the court. The Community Mental Health Journal has released the first published study on Veteran’s Treatment Courts which suggests that veterans involved in these programs experienced significant improvement in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression, substance abuse, overall functioning, emotional wellbeing, relationships with others, recovery status, social connectedness, family functioning, and sleep.
The Municipal Court also has a third program, Mental Health Court, which focuses on non-military offenders needing mental health treatment.
The theme for this year’s Drug Court celebration is Drug Courts Save! Whether it is saving lives, saving families, saving communities, saving veterans, or saving resources, therapeutic justice programs like Drug Court and Veteran’s Treatment Court save. Studies show that this problem-solving approach reduces recidivism and, for those with drug addiction, is more cost effective than incarceration or traditional probation and treatment. National Drug Court Month shines a light on the collective impact of these efforts and highlights the countless lives saved, families reunited and communities made safer by these programs.
For more information, contact Benita Jones, public information officer for the Municipal Court, at 816-513-6711 or Benita.Jones@kcmo.org.