Louisiana Supreme Court - 400 Royal St., New Orleans, LA 70130 | Tel: 504-310-2300 Hon. Bernette J. Johnson. Chief Justice.  John Tarlton Olivier., Clerk of Court.  Sandra A. Vujnovich. Judicial Administrator
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2005 Press Releases

CONTACT PERSON: VALERIE WILLARD
PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER
(504) 310-2590

 MARCH 18, 2005

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

State Representatives Tom McVea and Donald Ray Kennard joined 19th Judicial District Court (JDC) Judge Anthony J. Marabella, Jr., today for a graduation ceremony of 12 participants of the 19th Judicial District Drug Court Treatment Program. The ceremony took place in Judge Marabella's courtroom in the 19th JDC courthouse where Louisiana Supreme

Court Justice Catherine D. "Kitty" Kimball addressed the graduates and their families.

In addition to commending the graduates for their diligence and dedication to the Drug Court Program, Justice Kimball said, "Drug courts are doing great things for the people of the State of Louisiana. These programs provide beneficial treatment to those offenders with substance abuse problems while, at the same time, providing tax payers with a less expensive method of treating these offenders. Statistics indicate that the cost of drug court treatment is less than half the cost of incarceration of those same offenders for the same period of time. The Louisiana Supreme Court Drug Court Office is proud to take part in this growing and successful force in modern jurisprudence which means a new beginning for so many."

Judge Marabella added, "Since our program began operations in 1999, there have been a total of 177 Drug Court Program graduates. We are proud of our 63% retention rate and our low recidivism numbers. Our graduates complete a comprehensive four-phase program which includes (1) pretreatment stabilization and engagement, (2) cognitive restructuring, (3) relapse prevention, and (4) transition/aftercare. Additionally, they must meet stiff graduation criteria in order to get to where these graduates are today."

Graduation criteria include:

  • Obtaining gainful, consistent employment or sufficient involvement in a vocational/academic program
  • Attaining an acceptable level of sobriety with no positive drug test for six consecutive months
  • Completing required number of community service hours
  • Paying all program fees and fines in full
  • Maintaining consistent attendance at all court appearances and treatment appointments
  • Demonstrating an understanding of personal problems of addiction, criminal behavior and relapse prevention in a written graduation application
  • Maintaining a stable living arrangement and healthy interpersonal relationships
  • Possessing a definitive aftercare plan which may include 12-step meetings, mental health, outpatient counseling or group attendance at a former contract residential program
  • Fulfilling goals as stated in the individual treatment plan
  • Fulfilling conditions of Deferred Prosecution Agreement.

Prior to the Drug Court Program graduation ceremony, Representatives McVea and Kennard participated in a Drug Court Ride-Along at the 19th JDC. The Drug Court Ride-Along Program gives legislators a chance to "sit on the bench" with the drug court judge to see first-hand the volume and complexity of the work performed by courts in their district. More than 80 Drug Court Ride-Alongs are scheduled to take place throughout the State between February and May 2005.

 

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