Success of program cited for grant rejection

Last updated: December 20. 2013 2:47PM - 9843 Views
By - flewis@civitasmedia.com - 740-353-3101

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Frank Lewis

PDT Staff Writer

Scioto County Common Pleas Court Judge William T. Marshall has decided since his drug court is not broken, there is no need to fix it.

Marshall declined the state’s offer of a $1 million grant to add the IV drug Vivitrol to the drug court protocol. Vivitrol is a once-a-month injection that blocks the effects of opiates.

“I met with the entire drug court team, along with the (Portsmouth) Chief of Police, the (Scioto County) Sheriff, and went under a lot of debates,” Marshall told the Daily Times. “And the overall consensus in the end was that our drug court has been so successful without the use of any kind of drugs, that we’ve always maintained that we want to be a drug-free, alcohol-free drug court, and therefore we have chosen not to.”

Marshall was quick to add that the Scioto County Drug Court is not saying it is wrong for other drug courts to utilize the program.

“We’re just saying it doesn’t fit the (Scioto County) Drug Court scheme,” Marshall said.

Marshall said he has become well educated since the conversation about adding Vivitrol began. He said in making his decision, he met with all the members individually.

“The main reason the Scioto County Drug Court works so well, is I’ve turned it into a democracy,” Marshall said. “I’m just another vote in there. This (decision) is a combination of all these people from law enforcement, defense counsel, The Counseling Center, our caregivers, our probation department. It’s a consensus of our thoughts coming together. That’s what makes it work.”

In a letter of response to the state agencies involved, Marshall said, “Over the more than eight years of Scioto County Drug Court’s existence, many candidates have been unable to comply with the program’s strict rules and have been dismissed. In those cases, the participants have their felony convictions entered into the record and are either sentenced to supervised probation or to prison. One reward for successfully completing the requirements of the Scioto County Drug Court is that each individual who graduates has the record of their felony indictment sealed and they can proceed in life without a felony conviction. But perhaps the greater reward is that, through their own efforts and determination, and with the resources and assistance of the Drug Court team, each graduate of Scioto County Drug Court has learned how to conquer their addiction and rescue themselves from a life of drugs and crime.”

In the history of the court only two graduates have re-offended. He said when the people going through the program come before him, and if they have done wrong, they are punished in front of everybody on the team, which has to be a consensus of everybody on the Drug Court team.

Marshall said he has followed the federal model, not the state model.

“This federal model just seems to work,” Marshall said. “So why fix it if it’s not broken?”

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at flewis@civitasmedia.com. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.

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