Howard County District Court Holds Drug Court Graduation
Ellicott City, Md. — Dec.10, 2008) Howard County District Court will honor the 12 newest graduates of its drug/DUI (driving under the influence) court on Wednesday, Dec. 17, 4:30 p.m., in Courtroom 5 of the District Court Multiservice Building, 3451 Courthouse Drive, Ellicott City. Judge Neil Edward Axel will preside over the graduation ceremony.
During the graduation, participants will hear from U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings and County Administrator Lonnie Robbins, Esq. One of the graduates will also speak during the event. Each graduate will receive proclamations from the county and county council, a letter from Sen. Ben Cardin, a certificate from MADD, and a graduation certificate. Six participants will also receive scholarships to the Howard County YMCA.
“We are celebrating the successes of our largest group of very dedicated drug/DUI court participants who have reached a milestone not only in their recovery but also in their lives,” Judge Axel said. “This graduation reaffirms our community’s commitment to working together to help individuals successfully deal with their use of alcohol and drugs. The drug/DUI court program was developed as a more effective judicially coordinated, treatment-focused program to help reduce the adverse impact of repeat drug and/or alcohol offenders on the court system and on the Howard County community. With this program, we are breaking the cycle of addiction, changing lives, strengthening families, and improving our community.”
The Howard County drug/DUI court provides intensive treatment, supervision, and comprehensive judicial monitoring to habitual offenders whose crimes are addiction driven. The program is a collaboration among the Maryland Judiciary, the Division of Parole and Probation, the State’s Attorney’s Office, the Office of the Public Defender, the county police department, the Howard County Health Department, and substance abuse treatment providers. Nationally, drug treatment courts 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.
Howard County’s drug treatment court began in June 2004. The program for DUI infractions was added in January 2005. With this graduating class, there are now 54 graduates of Howard County’s drug/DUI court. Maryland’s drug treatment courts began in 1994, and there are now 39 drug treatment courts throughout the state with more planned.
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(Editor’s Note: Members of the media are invited to attend the Howard County drug/DUI court graduation. The use of cameras must be approved in advance, and all persons being photographed must give their consent to be photographed. Please contact the Court Information Office, (410) 260-1488, if you would like to bring a camera or for more information.)