Cobb County’s Drug Treatment Court celebrates 20 years of service

Several people gather around a comfort dog

[Photo courtesy of Cobb County]

Cobb County’s Drug Treatment Court celebrated its 20th anniversary on Oct 26, 2023.

Superior Court Judge Kimberly A. Childs led the celebration, which included judges, court employees, community stakeholders and other supporters of the program.

Childs is the presiding judge over the Drug Treatment Court, which is one of Cobb County’s accountability courts.

Advertisement

The purpose of the Drug Treatment Court is to provide an alternative to incarceration for individuals who need counseling and treatment rather than punitive and expensive incarceration.

At the ceremony, an award was presented to Senior Judge George H. Kreeger, the first Drug Court judge, for his years of service to the program and the county.

“Today, we celebrate 20 years of creating paths to wellness. Drug Courts are saving lives, reuniting families, reducing crime, and saving money,” said Porsha Middlebrook, Program Coordinator. “Drug Courts work!” 

The press release for the celebration described the speakers lineup as follows:

“Speakers at the event included Chief Assistant District Attorney John Pursley, who served as the prosecutor on the Drug Court team for several years, and Grady Moore, who served as a prosecutor and later as defense counsel for the Drug Court program for nearly 20 years. 

“Former DTC graduate Daniel Spinney spoke about his experience before and after participating in the program. Since then, he has been an integral part of the recovery community in Cobb County, including serving as the long-time Director of Program Services at The Zone in Marietta.”

“Drug Court is a major part of the person I am today. It gave me the tools to be a better son, father, and grandfather. I would not be where I am today without the Drug Court program,” Spinney said. 

Judge Childs awarded DTC community partner and certified sober living facility Four Winds Recovery for their continued partnership and services to the program and participants. The press release said Four Winds Recovery provides a stable living environment to allow participants a chance to get on their feet.

Sherrod Jones, the Career and Training Coordinator with CobbWorks, was also recognized “for his service as a team member in all the Cobb accountability courts for over eight years.”

Jones provides comprehensive services to DTC participants for employment and education, which are “pivotal to ensuring participants obtain stable jobs and achieve independence and sustainability during and after the program.”

Hope the Comfort Dog received recognition “for her devotion to the participants of the Cobb DTC and for always providing a calming influence on participants each week in the court.”

For more information about Cobb Drug Treatment Court, please contact Porsha Middlebrook, Program Coordinator, at 770-528-1933 or email CobbDTC@cobbcounty.org.

About the Accountability Courts

Materials distributed by Cobb County Superior Court describe Cobb’s four accountability courts as follows:

“Cobb Superior Court has four such courts: Drug Treatment Court, which includes both regular and intermediate tracks; Veterans Accountability and Treatment Court; Mental Health Court; and Parental Accountability Court. Various county and state offices collaborate with the judges and staff in operating individual accountability courts.”

The purpose of the accountability court program is to provide an alternative to incarceration for individuals who need counseling and treatment rather than punishment.

Drug Treatment Court

The website for the Drug Treat Court describes the program and its two tracks as follows:

“Drug Treatment Court is an accountability court designed to manage individuals with substance addiction by providing an alternative to the traditional justice system.  

“The Court Is designed to improve the health of our participants, not only by addressing the immediate symptoms of their addiction but also orienting participants to a new way of healthier living which can be continued for the rest of their life.

“The Cobb County Drug Treatment Court offers two programs.  

“The regular track is an 18- to 24-month program, dealing with high-risk, high-need participants. 

“The Intermediate track is a 12- to 18-month program for participants diagnosed with a mild to moderate substance use disorder and deemed a lower risk of re-offending. A risk-needs-responsivity assessment is completed to determine participant placement.”

Mental Health Court

The website for the Mental Health Court describes that court and its mission as follows:

“Mental Health Court is a 24 month minimum, voluntary, pre or post-plea, judicially supervised, treatment-based program for those individuals with a documented mental health diagnosis.

“The Cobb County Mental Health Court strives to improve mental health, promote self sufficiency, reduce recidivism, and offer cost effective alternatives to incarceration and hospitalization. 

“A Mental Health Court represents an effort to increase effective cooperation between two systems that have traditionally not worked closely together – The Mental Health System and The Criminal Justice System. 

“The program will hold participants accountable while assisting them in achieving long term stability, becoming successful family/community members, and remain law abiding citizens.”

Veterans Accountability and Treatment Court

The Veterans Accountability and Treatment Court website describes that court as follows:

“Cobb County Veterans Accountability and Treatment Court (VATC) seeks to divert eligible veteran defendants with substance dependency and/or mental illness that are charged with criminal offenses, to a specialized criminal court. 

“The court substitutes a treatment problem solving model for traditional court processing.

“The veterans voluntarily participate in a judicially supervised treatment plan that a team of court staff, veteran health care professionals, veteran peer mentors, and health care professionals develop with the veteran. 

“At regular status hearings, treatment plans and other conditions are periodically reviewed for appropriateness, incentives are offered to reward adherence to court conditions, and sanctions for non-adherence are handed down.”

Parental Accountability Court

The website for the Parental Accountability Court describes its purpose as follows:

“PAC seeks to address underlying issues that make it difficult for non-custodial parents to pay child support while providing judges with an alternative to incarceration in civil contempt cases.

“The program uses a team approach to meet participants’ needs as they become more accountable for supporting their children.  

“Members of the Parental Accountability Court Team include the Judge, Special Assistant Attorney General (SAAG), Parental Accountability Court Coordinator (PAC-C) from the Georgia Department of Human Services (DHS), Division of Child Support Services (DCSS), DCSS local Office Manager, and representative(s) from the Cobb County Community Services Board (CSB).”

For more detailed information about the accountability courts visit this link to the Superior Court’s Accountability Court website and explore the specific programs you are interested in learning about.

Advertisement