In celebration of National Drug Court Month, Barry County Drug Court will hold a graduation ceremony at 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 12 at the Barry County Judicial Center. This will mark the court's sixth graduation ceremony and eighth graduate since the court was founded in May of 2008.
The ceremony will mark the completion of an intensive program of comprehensive drug treatment, close supervision and full accountability.
Like the other 2,500 operational Drug Courts in the United States, the Barry County Drug Court is a judicially supervised court docket that 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, participants are regularly and randomly tested for drug use, required to appear frequently in court for the judge to review their 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.
"The Barry County Drug Court team believes this program has been highly successful, and we greatly appreciate the support of the Barry County community," said Judge Victor Head, who presides over the local drug court program.
"Thanks to a federal grant we received, we will be able to expand the number of people we serve in drug court and will be adding DWI Court as part of the program," said Judge Head.
Drug courts are this nations most effective strategy for reducing recidivism among drug-addicted, nonviolent offenders with long criminal histories. Nationally, 75 percent of individuals who complete drug court are not re-arrested. Drug courts save up to $13,000 for every individual they serve and return as much as $27 for every $1 invested.
"Drug courts are a proven budget solution and must be expanded," said NADCP CEO West Huddleston, chief executive officer of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals. "Drug courts are changing the face of our justice system, not only saving lives but saving critical resources."
The graduation on May 12 is open to the public, and members of the community are invited to attend.
Members of the Barry County Drug Court team include: Judge Head; Barry County Prosecutor Johnnie Cox; Brian Landreth with the Barry County Sheriff's Department; Earl Best, treatment provider; Nancy Foulke, Missouri Probation and Parole; Cassville Police Chief Dana Kammerlohr; Danny Crabb, drug court tracker with the Barry County Sheriff's Department; Mike Riehn, defense attorney; Marty Stearns, drug court coordinator; and Lisa Schlichtman, drug court evaluator.