PRESTONSBURG — District Judges Jimmy R. Marcum and Eric D. Hall attended the Pretrial Substance Abuse Program Feb. 1, at WestCare, in Pikeville.
During this graduation, local resident April Akers was honored for successfully completing the six-month program. Women’s counselor Debby Bailey honored Akers and other women who were graduating with certificates of completion and a cake to commemorate the occasion.
During the ceremony, held in the Pike County Jail chapel, Akers read a letter written to Judge Marcum, in which she thanked the judge for sending her there and allowing her the opportunity to change her life.
Also in attendance was Pike District Judge Kelsey Friend, who has been a longtime advocate of substance abuse treatment and a staunch supporter of the WestCare program.
PSAP is a program conducted by the Department of Corrections and is an available avenue for felony offenders who have not yet been adjudicated and can benefit from substance abuse counseling. Offenders are identified by pretrial services officers and a recommendation is made to PSAP for their evaluation and appropriateness for the program. The six-month PSAP program is then ordered by teh court and can give participants a chance to have the charges they face to misdemeanors upon successful completion.
The program focuses on helping participants meet the following goals:
• Discipline and sobriety through a therapeutic community model of rehabilitation, in which a group, segregated from the jail’s general population, acts as a support system for its members, much like a family or cohort, and is monitored by a professional social worker, who mediates, moderates and directs the rehabilitation activities.
• Responsibility for personal choices.
• Productivity in the family and community.
• Abstinence from drugs and alcohol.
Upon seeing Akers graduate, Marcum said, “When we are ordering a person to be incarcerated and participate in PSAP, I always know we are doing the right thing, but being here today and seeing these ladies making such huge changes in their way of thinking and ultimately in their lives has really confirmed it for me. I really applaud the hard work they’re putting in to their own success.”
Information on the Department of Corrections and various programs offered by the department is available at www.doc.ky.gov.