By Hartsville Vidette Staff Reporter

The 15th Judicial District Drug Court Program held its graduation ceremony on Friday, April 7, with the Honorable John Wootten, Jr. presiding.

Four men graduated the program after participating anywhere from one to four years. The Drug Court program started in 2002 and is designed to combine treatment and intensive supervision for non-violent felony offenders who have had contact with the courts and have an admitted drug and/or alcohol addiction.

Submitted photo
Judge John Wootten Jr. addresses graduates of the Drug Court program.

Judge Wootten pointed out that this graduation was special, not only for the four program graduates but also because one of the graduates was a participant in our “Veterans Track.” According to Judge Wootten, the program has recently added a separate track geared towards the unique needs and services of our veterans of the armed forces.

These recent graduates are all employed full time, have suitable long-term housing and have been compliant with supervision and screening requirements. Perhaps most importantly, these participants have maintained a clean and sober lifestyle change for at least 18-24 months.

The goal of the program is to break the cycle of reincarceration. Judge Wootten contributed the program’s success to the hard work of each individual participant, as well as the Drug Court team. Drug Court members include: Judge Wootten, Assistant District Attorney Jimmy Lea, Assistant Public Defender Shelley Thompson, Director of Cumberland Mental Health Nathan Miller, Certified Peer Specialist with Veterans Affairs Clarke Harrison, State Probation Officer with the Board of Probation and Parole Jeremiah Smith, Drug Court Coordinator Jeff E. Dickson, Sr. Case Manager Paula Langford and Case Manager Shelly Allison.

The 15th Judicial District Drug Court program serves Wilson, Trousdale, Macon, Jackson and Smith counties, and has seen much success during the past 15 years and looks forward to continued growth.