Howard County District Court Holds Drug/DUI Court Graduation
(ELLICOTT CITY, Md. — May 15, 2009) During its drug/DUI (alcohol) treatment court graduation on Wednesday, May 20, the Howard County District Court will be marking its own milestone: the fifth anniversary of the county’s program, which combines judicial oversight with intensive treatment and supervision. The graduation will be held at 4:30 p.m. on May 20 in Courtroom 5 of the District Court Multiservice Building, 3451 Courthouse Drive, Ellicott City. Judge Neil Edward Axel will preside over the graduation ceremony.
In addition to the five-year anniversary for Howard County, this year marks the 15th anniversary of drug treatment courts in the state. Maryland was an early proponent of drug courts, which were introduced in Miami’s court system in the late 1980s. Maryland’s first drug treatment court began in Baltimore in 1994, and the program has expanded to include more than 40 drug treatment courts throughout the state. Howard County’s drug treatment court began in June 2004, and the program for DUI infractions was added in January 2005.
“With this program, we are breaking the cycle of addiction, changing lives, strengthening families, and improving our community,” Judge Axel said. “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. This graduation reaffirms our community’s commitment to working together to help individuals successfully deal with their use of alcohol and drugs.”
The Howard County drug/DUI treatment 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.
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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 Office of Communications and Public Affairs, (410) 260-1488, if you would like to bring a camera or for more information.)