TDMHSAS Premieres Recovery Court Profile ProjectVideo and photo essays document faces and stories of Tennessee’s recovery courts
NASHVILLE, Tenn.—The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) today premiered a new video and photo project documenting the faces and stories of people who have received treatment and found recovery through or who work in the state’s recovery courts.
TDMHSAS provides support and leadership to 78 recovery courts with department funding supporting 61 of those organizations. Recovery courts encompass drug courts, mental health courts, veteran treatment courts, family courts, and juvenile drug courts. People who participated in the profiles share perspectives of experience in recovery courts from judges and court directors to graduates, even some who are now employed by the court.
Governor Bill Lee’s FY20 budget proposal (available at this link) includes $4.7 million to increase access to recovery courts, supplement recovery court programming with Medication Assisted Treatment, and create a new residential recovery court for women.
“We’re so grateful to Governor Lee for recognizing and proposing expansion to the life-changing services that recovery courts provide to their participants and their communities,” said TDMHSAS Commissioner Marie Williams, LCSW. “Recovery courts give a person access to the treatment and structure they need to find a life in recovery, and from there, they regain connection with their family, their community, and their humanity.”
Participants in the profiles represent courts that cover 19 Tennessee counties. Counties covered include: Carter, Cheatham, Davidson, Dekalb, Dickson, Fayette, Hamilton, Hardeman, Houston, Humphreys, Johnson, Madison, Rutherford, Roane, Scott, Shelby, Stewart, Unicoi, and Washington. Recovery court services are available in 78 of Tennessee’s 95 counties.
“The level of community buy-in is what makes recovery courts so successful. When you have the leadership of a dedicated judge, support of talented and passionate staff, and backing of motivated community members, recovery courts have the ability to make a great difference,” said Ellen Abbott, TDMHSAS Director of Criminal Justice Services.
Studies of outcomes in Tennessee’s recovery courts show the community benefits. Of the individuals who successfully complete a recovery court program, 86% improve their employment situation, gaining either full or part time employment from the time they were admitted to the time they were discharged. Nearly all successful graduates (96%) improve or maintain their independent living situation or gain housing if they were experiencing homelessness or were incarcerated.