Kentucky Drug and Veterans Treatment Courts awarded $2 million in grants

Staff Report

FRANKFORT – Three Kentucky Drug Court programs and two Veterans Treatment Courts were recently awarded a total of $2 million in federal grants to better serve specific groups of people with substance abuse addictions. The Drug Court programs serve Floyd, Johnson, Lawrence, Letcher and Martin counties, and the VTCs serve Boone, Campbell, Christian and Kenton counties. The programs began using the funds in January. The Administrative Office of the Courts oversees Drug Court programs and VTCs.

Grants for Drug Court programs: The Drug Court programs in Floyd, Letcher and Johnson/Lawrence/Martin counties received grants to help participants who are the most difficult to treat and who have the fewest necessary resources to complete the Drug Court program and to obtain education and work. Johnson, Lawrence and Martin counties share a Drug Court program.

The federal funds are to assist participants who struggle with employment issues, suffer with mental health problems and/or have other barriers to their recovery. With the grants, the programs will expand treatment services, including job coaching and counseling, and assist participants with education expenses, housing, transportation, child care and other needs. The grants also cover evaluations of the programs during the grant period.

The Floyd County Drug Court program’s grant is $325,000 a year for three years for a total of $975,000 from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance. The program has 24 participants. Ninety-five have successfully completed the program since it began in February 2004. Floyd County Circuit Court Judge Thomas M. Smith and District Court Judge Eric D. Hall are the Drug Court judges.

The Letcher County Drug Court program was awarded a SAMHSA grant of approximately $300,000 for three years for a total of $900,000. The program has 23 participants. Fifty-four have successfully completed the program since it began in February 2004. Justice Samuel T. Wright III was the Letcher County Drug Court judge and applied for the grant prior to being elected to the Supreme Court at the end of 2015. Another judge will soon take the position of Drug Court judge.

The Johnson/Lawrence/Martin Drug Court program was awarded a two-year BJA grant of $100,000 a year for a total of $200,000. The program has 35 participants. One-hundred and twenty-five have successfully completed the program since it began in October 2003. District Court Judges John T. Chafin and John Kevin Holbrook serve as the Drug Court judges for the three counties.

Kentucky Drug Court programs are funded with state money approved by the Kentucky General Assembly. State funds are for treatment, drug testing, case management and other services but do not cover enhanced treatment and wrap-around services like housing and child care.

Grants for Veterans Treatment Courts

The Christian County VTC and the Northern Kentucky Regional VTC were each awarded a $350,000 grant to take their courts from pilot programs to full programs. The Northern Kentucky VTC serves Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties. VTCs are designed to help veterans who have ended up in the criminal justice system as a result of substance abuse addiction.

The grants funds are from the BJA and will be administered over a three-year period. By going from pilot to full programs, the VTCs can accept more veterans, offer enhanced treatment and more mental health resources, and hire case managers to work with participants. The grants also cover evaluations of the programs during the grant period.

Christian County VTC began as a pilot program in December 2013. Christian County Circuit Court Judge Andrew C. Self and District Court Judge James G. Adams Jr. are the VTC judges. The program has eight participants. Two people have successfully completed the program.

Northern Kentucky Regional VTC began as a pilot in April 2015. The court’s judges are Campbell County Circuit Court Judge Fred A. Stine, Boone County District Court Judge Jeffrey S. Smith (also serves Gallatin County as a district judge) and Kenton County District Court Judge Ann Ruttle. The program has 12 participants. One has successfully completed the program since it began.

Staff Report

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