Worcester County Drug Court Honored for Innovative Efforts
Court to hold open house and luncheon May 23
(ANNAPOLIS, MD — May 19, 2006) The Drug Treatment
Court Commission of Maryland has designated the Worcester County Drug
Court the state’s Most Innovative Drug Court Campaign. Chief Judge
Ben C. Clyburn of the District Court of Maryland will present the drug
court with an award during an open house and luncheon to be held from
noon to 1:30 on Tuesday, May 23, at the Worcester County Jail, 5022
Joyner Road, Snow Hill.
The drug court offers an unusual, collaborative effort between the District
Court and the Circuit Court for Worcester County, offering drug treatment
court programs for adult and juvenile offenders. Since the courts were
started in December, the planners have launched a six-month awareness
campaign to introduce the drug courts to the community. In addition
to distributing water at a marathon in Ocean City in April, court planners
and participants will participate in a series of public events, including
a community clean-up, National Night Out, and a recovery walk.
“In just a few months, the Worcester County courts have demonstrated
to the state the importance of introducing a drug court to the community
it serves,” said Gray Barton, executive director of the Drug Treatment
Court Commission. “By developing creative ways to involve the
drug courts in the community, the courts are attracting exceptional
– and exemplary – community support which is so integral
to helping our drug court participants change their lives.”
Drug courts provide intensive treatment, supervision, and comprehensive
judicial monitoring to habitual offenders whose crimes are addiction-driven.
Nationally drug court programs have emerged as a practical, cost-effective
alternative to incarceration, and re-arrest rates for drug court graduates
are significantly lower than for the general population.
“In the 1980s our society began the ‘War on Drugs’
with a zero tolerance policy, filling our jails with petty drug users,”
said Worcester County District Judge Gerald V. Purnell, who is handling
cases in the adult drug court. “Clearly the ‘War on Drugs’
has not worked, and as a result our court system is taking a fresh approach
to the drug problem that is pervasive in our society. That fresh approach
is the drug treatment court.”
Five participants are enrolled in the adult drug court, with five enrolled
in the juvenile drug court.
“Our juvenile drug court has been very successful in helping these
young people get off drugs,” said Worcester County Circuit Judge
Thomas Clay Groton, III, who is handling juvenile drug court cases.
“It has been a very rewarding experience for me to see them succeed
and gain confidence in themselves.”
Maryland has 30 established drug courts, and six more in the planning
For more information, or to cover this event, please contact the
Court Information Office at (410) 260-1488. The luncheon is not open
to the public, but media are welcome.
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