Oakland County Adult Treatment Court Celebrates Graduation

On Wednesday, October 17, 2012, at 2:00 p.m., the Oakland County Adult Treatment Court (ATC) will hold its 33rd graduation since its inception in August of 2001. The 124th through the 128th graduates will be honored with a ceremony and reception to be held in the Oakland County Commissioners Auditorium, Oakland County Courthouse, 1200 North Telegraph Road, Pontiac, Michigan.

“I don’t want to die a crack head,” is what John relayed to the Adult Treatment Court defense attorney Jack Holmes on that cold January day in 2010 while sitting in the Oakland County Jail. John (one of the five graduates slated to commence on Wednesday) had been using crack daily for 23 years and had been abusing alcohol since the age of 10, leading to his involvement with the criminal justice system. John, age 54 and an honorably discharged veteran, had been in treatment three times before but struggled to stay clean once released. Understandably, he began the ATC program with great reservations that he could accomplish the substantial requirements. However, with perseverance and a great faith, he sustained the challenges and now, almost two years later, can claim with great pride that he has been clean since December 1, 2010. John is now gainfully employed and pursuing an associate’s degree in computer programming at Baker College. He further chairs meetings at the Serenity Club in Waterford and realizes that his sobriety is dependent upon his continued participation with the recovery community.

The Adult Treatment Court (ATC) has served 447 participants to date and is a four-phase intervention program for non-violent, felony offenders who find it difficult to maintain sobriety. Without acceptance into the ATC program, these individuals would otherwise be facing a probable sentence of months, if not years, in jail or prison. The program’s key elements are: extremely close judicial and community supervision, intense substance-abuse treatment, frequent substance abuse testing and a long-term commitment to program requirements.

The ATC team consists of two judges: The Honorable Judge Joan E. Young, who presides over the male participants; and the Honorable Judge Colleen O’Brien, who presides over the female participants.  Additional members of ATC team include a defense attorney, probation officer, a program supervisor and various treatment providers.  While the ATC meets bi-weekly, the team is in daily contact, intensely monitoring and intervening with the program’s participants. The Adult Treatment Court expects participants to find and maintain employment, consistently participate in treatment, pay court costs, including restitution to the victims of their crimes and, of course, take responsibility for the support of their children. Notably, the recidivism rates for graduates of the Adult Treatment Court are 37% lower than felons who never participate in the Adult Treatment Court.

Additionally, according to The National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) website, “Nationwide, for every $1.00 invested in Drug Court, taxpayers save as much as $3.36 in avoided criminal justice costs alone. When considering other cost offsets such as savings from reduced victimization and healthcare service utilization, studies have shown benefits range up to $27 for every $1 invested. Drug Courts produce cost savings ranging from $3,000 to $13,000 per client. These cost savings reflect reduced prison costs, reduced revolving-door arrests and trials, and reduced victimization.”

Judge Colleen O’Brien adds: “The cost associated with alcohol and drug abusing offenders is staggering. The impact on the substance abuser’s family is profound. Oakland County

Sixth Circuit Court is doing its part through the Adult Treatment Court to address these issues and find solutions that will be mutually beneficial to the defendants, their families, the victims and the community at large.”

For further information about this program, please contact Jacqueline Howes-Evanson at (248) 452-2154.

About Tom and Ann Gendich

Founders of Rochester Media. Looking to provide great local news to all people in and around Rochester and Rochester Hills. Send them a note at info@rochestermedia.com.

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