Drug court gets big boost

Federal grant will double participation

By J Swygart - jswygart@limanews.com

LIMA — Lima Municipal Court has been awarded more than $450,000 in federal grant funding through the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs, with the funds to be used to increase enrollment and enhance treatment opportunities for participants in the court’s drug treatment program.

The drug treatment court program was created by Judge Tammie Hursh in 2015 to help those entangled in the criminal justice system complete any court-ordered treatment and/or rehabilitation. In 2017 Lima Muni Court Judge David Rodabaugh added a similar docket.

Participation in the drug treatment courts is voluntary, and until now participation in the two courts was limited to 30 participants — 15 in each judge’s docket.

The newly-obtained grant funding, which is intended to cover salaries, training, supplies and other facets of the specialized court, is to be spread over three years. The additional funds will allow total participation in the program to swell to 50, according to Drug Court Officer Goia Coleman, and will also provide additional resources and “expand our reach into the community.”

Municipal Court Administrator Lisa Deters said Coleman and Chief Probation Officer Marjean Warren were the driving force behind obtaining the $458,194 grant.

“They worked their tails off,” said Deters. “This was a huge undertaking and they deserve much of the credit.”

Deters said grant funds will be used to help get drug court participants to medical or mental health appointments and to provide them in some cases with “basic living supplies … anything we can do to help them with the treatment they need and to try to get them into sobriety.”

Coleman said the drug court program was designed to be a one-year endeavor, “but on average we’re find that is takes people about 18 months to complete. This is not something where you can just go through the motions.”

Participants are enrolled in drug court following their criminal convictions on low-level infractions centered around the abuse of alcohol and/or drugs. Referrals to the program come from judges, attorneys, probation officers or treatment and counseling agencies.

The overriding goal is go give offenders the tools necessary to get their lives stabilized through weekly drug court sessions that include assessments and assistance from “a whole treatment team,” Coleman said.

The new grant will allow the court to cast an even wider safety net throughout the community, she added.

“We are really excited to have this.”

Federal grant will double participation

By J Swygart


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