Kentucky Court of Justice
Knott/Magoffin Drug Court participants, communities benefiting from nearly $1 million federal grant
FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Eight months after the Knott/Magoffin County Drug Court program began using a nearly $1 million federal grant to provide services for participants, the assistance is paying off for the participants and their communities.
The program was awarded a $975,000 grant in March 2012 from the U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance and The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The grant is $325,000 a year for three years. The Drug Court program began using the grant money in April.
As a result of the funding, hundreds of Drug Court participants in the Knott/Magoffin program have received enhanced treatment services and many have gotten financial assistance with education expenses, rent, household appliances, utilities, transportation, and medical, dental and vision care. The funds have also covered clothing costs for participants attending school or working, including mandatory work items like uniforms and shoes. One young mother in the program is able to work outside the home thanks to the grant covering child care while she is on the job. The program has provided wrap-around services like these approximately 85 times since April.
Under the grant, the Drug Court program uses the Assertive Community Treatment Model, in which services are extended to those who are the most difficult to treat and have the most limited resources.
“Poor economic conditions, such as not being able to afford transportation or the clothing needed for a job or school, are roadblocks to recovering and successfully rejoining society for many individuals,” said Circuit Court Judge Kim Cornett Childers, who volunteers her time to conduct Drug Court proceedings for the Knott/Magoffin program. “With the grant funds, we’re able to assist Drug Court participants with their everyday needs, including safe, clean housing for them and their children. With these needs met, it’s easier for participants to stay sober, meet Drug Court requirements, regain a sense of pride and become productive members of society.”
Three participants who received assistance through the grant recently earned their general education diplomas and two others are in the GED program. Others are taking classes in mortuary services, nursing and substance abuse counseling.
“Everyone benefits when participants successfully rejoin their communities,” said Glenda Shrum, Drug Court program supervisor for Knott/Magoffin. “Without the grant, we would never have been able to offer the type of assistance we are providing for our participants. It is greatly improving our program and the lives of our participants. The benefits are enormous.”
The Assertive Community Treatment Model calls for a multidisciplinary team approach with increased case management, a peer recovery specialist and a clinician.
The Knott/Magoffin program is using part of the grant funding to employ a substance abuse counselor, peer recovery coach and case manager. The counselor’s duties include providing counseling and enhanced treatment for individuals and groups of participants. Enhanced treatment is in the form of educational programs. The peer recovery coach and the case manager conduct home and jail visits, run mentoring groups and provide job coaching and transportation for participants. The coach also offers emotional support for participants and the case manager oversees each participant’s case. The peer recovery coach and case manager are graduates of the Knott/Magoffin Drug Court program.
“The Knott/Magoffin program is doing a great job with the grant and I’m looking forward to even more positive results as funding continues over the next two years,” said Connie Neal, who oversees specialty courts for the state court system.
Kentucky Drug Court is administered through the Administrative Office of the Courts in Frankfort, which oversees 55 adult programs that serve 115 counties, including the Knott/Magoffin program. Aside from grant dollars, the Knott/Magoffin program is funded with state money approved by the Kentucky General Assembly. State funds are for treatment, drug testing, home visits and other services but do not cover wrap-around services like housing and clothing.
Since the Knott/Magoffin County Drug Court program began in January 2004, 51 participants from Knott County and 22 from Magoffin County have graduated from the program. Seven drug-free babies have been born to Knott County participants and three drug-free babies to Magoffin County participants. Seven Knott County participants and one Magoffin County participant have earned their GED.
There are 25 Knott County participants and 17 Magoffin County participants currently in the Drug Court program.
About Kentucky Drug Court
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 June 30, 2012, 5,370 individuals had graduated from Drug Court programs statewide and participants had paid $3.5 million in child support and $3.9 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 nearly 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 also executes the Judicial Branch budget.