Kentucky Court of Justice
Kentucky Drug Court manager to be guest speaker at Greenup/Lewis County Drug Court graduation Feb. 25
FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Connie Neal, manager of Kentucky Drug Court, will be the guest speaker at a graduation ceremony Friday, Feb. 25, for 20 participants who have completed the Greenup/Lewis County Drug Court program. The ceremony will take place at 11:30 a.m. EST at First United Methodist Church, 607 Main St. in Greenup. The ceremony is open to the public.
Circuit Court Judge Robert Conley, who volunteers his time to conduct Drug Court proceedings for the Greenup/Lewis County program, will preside over the graduation ceremony. This will be the local program’s ninth graduation.
Invitees to the ceremony include law enforcement representatives, elected officials, attorneys and representatives of drug treatment facilities.
Local Drug Court staff members Julie Ilhardt, program supervisor and recovery coordinator, and case specialists James “Andy” Harris, Arlene Hampton and Kevin Hilger are coordinating the graduation and related events.
Connie Neal, manager of Kentucky Drug Court
Neal has more than 25 years of experience in social work and has worked for Kentucky Drug Court since its inception in 1996. She has been the Drug Court manager since August 2007.
Kentucky Drug Court is administered through the Administrative Office of the Courts in Frankfort and oversees 55 adult Drug Court programs that serve 115 counties. Drug Court is a division of the AOC’s Department of Statewide Services.
Prior to becoming Kentucky Drug Court manager, Neal was the program supervisor for Fayette County Drug Court for eight years and the regional supervisor for Drug Court programs in Central and Northern Kentucky. She was appointed manager of Kentucky Drug Court after two years as regional supervisor.
Neal has conducted workshops at the National Association of Drug Court Professionals annual conference and for the Kentucky School of Alcohol and Other Drug Studies. She has also presented workshops on the state and local levels, educating community partners about the benefits of the Drug Court program, including the Kentucky Department of Vocational Rehabilitation and community corrections agencies.
Greenup/Lewis County Drug court program
The Greenup/Lewis County Drug Court program is one of only 10 Mentor Adult Treatment Courts in the nation, as selected by the National Drug Court Institute.
Mentor courts help develop, identify and test national best practices for treating adult substance-abusing offenders through adult drug courts. They also serve as mentors for entities interested in starting an adult drug court and for existing programs that want to learn about the latest practices in addressing adult substance abuse. The NDCI chose the program in 2010 to be a mentor court for three years. The NDCI is a branch of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, the preeminent source for training and technical assistance to the drug court field.
The Greenup/Lewis County Drug Court program began as a pilot project in January 2002 and became a fully funded program later that year. There are 66 participants in the program now, including those scheduled to graduate Feb. 25. Since the program began, 151 participants have graduated.
Kentucky Drug Court
Drug Court is proving to be a positive solution to a serious social problem. The success of Drug Court can be measured in the number of lives changed and the cost savings to Kentucky taxpayers. The program has had a significant impact on reducing rearrest, reconviction and reincarceration rates. The program has resulted in increased payment of delinquent child support and improved employment rates. For every $1 spent on Drug Court graduates, the state saves $2.72 on what it would have spent on incarcerating these individuals.
The mission is to provide a court-supervised treatment alternative that stops illicit drug use and related criminal activity and promotes a positive life change through substance abuse education and treatment.
How Drug Court Works
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 a total of 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. Most of the program’s funding comes from state funds approved through the Kentucky General Assembly.
For more information about Drug Court, visit http://courts.ky.gov/stateprograms/Drug+Court/.
Administrative Office of the Courts
The AOC is the operations arm for the state court system and supports the activities of nearly 3,600 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.