Kentucky Court of Justice
Kentucky Drug Court manager to be guest speaker at Drug Court graduation May 9
FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Connie Neal, manager of the Kentucky Drug Court program, will be the guest speaker at a graduation ceremony Friday, May 9, for seven adult Drug Court participants from Bourbon, Scott and Woodford counties. The ceremony is open to the public and will take place at 6 p.m. at the Bourbon County Judicial Center at 310 Main St. in Paris.
The seven participants are among many who will graduate from Drug Court programs in Kentucky during National Drug Court Commencement Week, May 5-9. The special week has been designated in May as part of National Drug Court Month. Approximately 125 Drug Court participants will graduate at 17 ceremonies across Kentucky during the month. The theme of this National Drug Court Month is “Taking Drug Courts to Scale: Healthy Families Healing Communities,” with one of the goals being to promote the expansion of drug court programs nationwide to reach the millions of drug-addicted citizens in need of treatment.
Neal, the keynote speaker at Friday’s graduation ceremony, has more than 22 years of experience in social work and has worked in the Drug Court Department at the Administrative Office of the Courts since the department’s inception in 1996. She has been the department manager since August 2007.
Kentucky Drug Court oversees Drug Court programs throughout the state and is administered through the AOC in Frankfort.
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.
Circuit Judge Paul F. Isaacs, who conducts Drug Court proceedings in Bourbon, Scott and Woodford counties, will preside over the graduation ceremony. Other invitees include representatives of law enforcement, probation and parole and treatment facilities, as well as elected officials and attorneys from the three counties.
The Bourbon-Scott-Woodford Drug Court began in March 2001 with a pilot program that served 12 participants. The program expanded after being fully funded in August 2002.
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 and aftercare and lasts an average of one to two years. 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, and much of the program’s funding comes from federal grants and state matching funds approved through the Kentucky General Assembly.
The AOC is the operational arm of the Kentucky Court of Justice and supports the activities of more than 4,000 court system employees, including the elected offices of justices, judges and circuit court clerks.