Juvenile Drug Court
The Muscogee County's Juvenile Court is a multi-agency post adjudication program involving the coordinated efforts of the Juvenile Drug Court Judge, District Attorney's Office, Public Defender, Department of Juvenile Justice, Muscogee County School District, and local Substance Abuse Treatment Providers. The Muscogee County Juvenile Drug Court began 2000 and is the 2nd oldest Court of its kind in Georgia.
The Juvenile Drug Court Program is a voluntary program for juvenile's ages 14-17 charged with drug-related non-violent crimes.
The Drug Court will empower juvenile offenders to live drug-free lives and become law-abiding citizens by:
- involving the juvenile's family
- providing intensive court supervision, counseling, school performance monitoring, and linkage to community resources
- measuring these objectives by drug screens, recidivism rates, school records, and periodic assessments
- salvaging a life, one juvenile at a time
A dedicated and compassionate group of professionals, volunteers and parents, partnering with juveniles who develop and implement strategies that will positively impact the juvenile's quality of life and make a life-changing difference in his or her future.
The Muscogee County Juvenile Drug Court (JDC), implemented in October 2000, is an accountability court program designed to assist with substance abuse/dependence issues and monitor progress toward recovery through an intense judicial and case management supervised program. The goals of Juvenile Drug Court are to
- reduce delinquency
- reduce substance abuse
- help young people affected by drugs to regain and develop lost relationships with family and peers.
Individuals are required to participate in a variety of treatment programs designed to address substance use disorders, as well as other needs. The program includes individual and group therapy sessions, as well as participation in anger management.Other interventions include monitoring of school attendance and school performance, job skills and community surveillance. Residential substance abuse treatment may be required.
Participants must attend:
- submit to weekly drug screens;
- attend all required court sessions;
- attend and comply with any other orders of the Drug Court Judge.
As participants successfully move through the phases, treatment requirements and supervision will decrease. Drug Court participants are held accountable for their behavior and are required to appear before a Juvenile Drug Court Judge every 2 weeks.
Incentives And Sanctions:
As participants successfully progress in JDC, they may receive incentives. The purpose of an incentive is to give a tangible and positive acknowledgment from the team that the participants is meeting the requirements of the program and demonstrating positive behavior changes.
Incentives can include:
- applause in the courtroom;
- verbal acknowledgment from the Judge;
- a decrease in required court appearances
- gift cards to local retailers; or
- sobriety gifts.
A sanction is a consequence for failure to meet FDC requirements. The objective of imposing sanctions is to not only remind participants of the need to be in full compliance, but also to help participants stay engaged and encouraged to continue working through the program with the goal of graduation.
Examples of sanctions include but are not limited to:
- reprimand from the Judge;
- increased court appearances
- increased level of treatment
- community services hours
- essay writing
- confinement, and
- termination from the program.
Once Juvenile Drug Court participants successfully completes the program, the case against the child is dismissed and sealed.
The Juvenile Drug Court Team, a multi-disciplinary group of stakeholders that includes uses a non-adversarial approach to assist with substance abuse and dependency issues and monitor progress towards recovery and restoration of families. The Family Drug Court team consists of:
- Judge Warner L. Kennon
- Ashaunte Reid, Coordinator
- Samantha Cannon, Clerk of Court/Court Director
- Gwendolyn Newby , Juvenile Drug Court Case Manager
- Matthew Brown, Assistant District Attorney
- Robert Poydasheff, Defense Attorney
- Stephen Robinson, Department of Juvenile Justice
- Juan Garcia, New Horizon Project Change Clubhouse
- Dr. Robert Carlson, Clinical and Program Evaluator