Kentucky Court of Justice
White House Drug Policy Director and U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers to speak at 28th Judicial Circuit Drug Court graduation May 6 in Somerset

Press Release Date:  Monday, May 04, 2015  
Contact Information:  Jamie Neal
Public Information Specialist
502-573-2350, x 50033

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Director of National Drug Control Policy Michael Botticelli and U.S. Rep. Harold “Hal” Rogers of Kentucky will be guest speakers at a graduation ceremony Wednesday, May 6, when 13 participants will be recognized for successfully completing the 28th Judicial Circuit Adult Drug Court program. The media and public are invited to attend. The event will take place at 11:30 a.m. ET in the Circuit Courtroom on the third floor of the Pulaski County Court of Justice. The building is located at 50 Public Square in Somerset.

The Drug Court graduation is part of National Drug Court Month, which takes place each May. Judges David A. Tapp and Jeffrey T. Burdette volunteer their time to serve as the Drug Court judges for the 28th Judicial Circuit and will oversee the graduation ceremony. Administrative Office of the Courts Director Laurie K. Dudgeon will also provide remarks. The circuit is comprised of Lincoln, Pulaski and Rockcastle counties.

The National Association of Drug Court Professionals will present the Drug Court program with its Community Transformation Award in recognition of the program’s tireless efforts to transform its community through reducing drug addiction and crime, restoring hope and reuniting families. Only 15 of the nation’s 2,900 Drug Courts have received this award.

In addition to the media and public, invitees to the graduation ceremony law enforcement representatives, state and local elected officials, attorneys and representatives of drug treatment facilities.

Drug Court is the nation’s most effective justice intervention for treating individuals with substance use disorders. Nationwide, 75 percent of Drug Court graduates remain arrest-free for at least two years after completing the program. National data also establishes that for every $1 invested in Drug Court, taxpayers save up to $3.36 in avoided criminal justice costs alone and up to $13,000 for every individual they serve. 

Judge Tapp previously received the NADCP’s All Rise Award for interviewing Congressman Rogers in 2011 for the association’s All Rise magazine. The interview was featured as the cover story of the quarterly magazine. Congressman Rogers, who represents 28 counties in southeastern Kentucky, said in the article that he thought Drug Court programs should be expanded to reach more people. Congressman Rogers launched Operation UNITE in 2003 in response to a special report by the Lexington Herald-Leader about drug abuse in southeastern Kentucky.

About Kentucky Drug Court
Kentucky Drug Court is administered through the Administrative Office of the Courts in Frankfort, which oversees 55 adult programs that serve 115 counties.

Drug Court’s mission is to provide court-supervised treatment as an alternative to incarceration. The program’s success can be measured in the number of lives changed and the cost savings to Kentucky taxpayers. For every $1 spent on Drug Court graduates, the state saves $2.72 on what it would have spent on incarcerating these individuals.

The program has helped reduce illicit drug use and related criminal activity and lowered rearrest, reconviction and reincarceration rates. It has increased payments of delinquent child support and improved employment rates. As of Dec. 31, 2014, 6,889 individuals had graduated from Drug Court programs statewide and participants had paid nearly $5 million in child support and more than $5 million in court obligations, including restitution and fines.

Drug Court coordinates the efforts of the judiciary, prosecution, defense bar, probation, law enforcement, mental health, social services and treatment communities to actively intervene and break the cycle of substance abuse, addiction and crime. The program consists of three phases that last at least one year and are followed by aftercare. Drug Court staff and participants work together to develop individual program plans with specific responsibilities and goals with timetables. Plans include group, family and individual counseling; frequent and random urine testing; education and vocational training; scheduled payments of restitution, child support and court fees; and health and community activities. Participants report directly to their Drug Court judge, who rewards progress and sanctions noncompliance.

When participants successfully complete the program, charges may be dismissed through diversion, or conditional discharge may be granted through probation. Judges who participate in Drug Court volunteer their time to the program.

Administrative Office of the Courts
The AOC is the operations arm for the state court system and supports the activities of 3,300 court system employees and 403 elected justices, judges and circuit court clerks. As the fiscal agent for the state court system, the AOC executes the Judicial Branch budget.