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Baltimore City Circuit Court Celebrates Adult Drug Treatment Court Graduation

(BALTIMORESeptember 21, 2016)  Participants, family members and friends gathered in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City on Friday, September 16, to celebrate their success in a graduation ceremony held by the Adult Drug Treatment Court program.  Judge Sylvester B. Cox presided over the graduation in Courthouse East, along with Judge Ellen M. Heller and Judge Thomas J.S. Waxter, Jr.  

“Drug court graduations are one of the more pleasant activities that happen in these court buildings,” said Judge Cox.  “Drug treatment court participants have reclaimed their lives from the throes of addiction, and they are to be commended for that.”

When the Baltimore City Circuit Court Adult Drug Treatment Court was founded 22 years ago in March 1994, it was one of the first of its kind in the country.  The program combines judicial oversight with intensive treatment and supervision, and provides vocational, educational, life skills training and other services to address issues that contribute to substance abuse and criminal behavior.  The stated mission of the Drug Court is to increase public safety “through timely intervention and comprehensive treatment of substance abuse offenders, to provide for the rehabilitation of these individuals, and to ‘break the cycle’ of recidivism.”

Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby served as the keynote speaker for the graduation.  Guest speakers included Robert Morton, an alumnus of the drug court program, and Daniel Smith, Manager of the Assignment Division for the Baltimore City Circuit Court Clerk’s Office.

“This court is about rehabilitation,” Mr. Morton said.  “The staff and judges went out of their way to help me.  For me to do anything but be responsible and accountable for my own actions would be not appreciating what they did for me.  My passion is to help juveniles avoid this path because prevention is just as, if not more, important.”

Smith said, “I have been clean for 29 years.  It is my passion to reach back and help others who are just like I used to be.  For the drug court participants, this is the first day of the rest of their lives.  No one will be impressed that they completed drug court.  People will be impressed by what they do next, by what they bring to the table.”

The Baltimore City Circuit Court website has more information about the drug treatment court program.

Drug treatment court programs are one way the Judiciary upholds its commitment to “be responsive and adaptable to changing community needs,” a stated goal in the Strategic Plan for the Maryland Judiciary.  Maryland has 37 drug treatment courts, consisting of adult, family, recovery and DUI courts.  They are part of the Judiciary’s network of problem-solving courts, which respond to the underlying problems that bring people into court, such as drug or alcohol addiction, mental illness, and/or family or personal issues.  Problem-solving courts combine ongoing judicial oversight with intensive treatment, services and supervision.  They are a collaborative effort among the Judiciary, prosecutors, community corrections agencies, treatment providers, and other community support groups.

PHOTOS FROM THE GRADUATION:

 

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