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Approved State Budget Includes Funding for New Recovery Courts

Tuesday, May 07, 2013 | 05:21am

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) will create nine “recovery courts” to combat mental health and substance abuse issues in Tennessee.

Recovery courts are specialized courts or court calendars that incorporate intensive judicial supervision, treatment services, sanctions, and incentives to address the needs of addicted nonviolent offenders, and the approved Fiscal Year 2013-2014 budget included $1.56 million for the nine new courts.

The courts that will be created through this funding will combine the services currently found in drug courts with those of mental health courts and veterans courts. Around the nation, most of these kinds of courts exist separately, but in Tennessee, the services will be integrated in an effort to combine similar issues of mental health, substance abuse, and veterans affairs in one location and to best utilize the available funds.

“We are facing a major prescription drug problem in our state,” TDMHSAS Commissioner Douglas Varney said. “We need to focus all of our resources in the most efficient, effective, and collaborative way to maximize our impact on this issue and drug abuse overall. And because so many people who are dealing with a substance abuse issue also have a mental health issue – a situation referred to as a co-occurring disorder – these recovery courts will be able to help them get all the help that they need at one time and in one location.”

The target population comprises juvenile and adult offenders who meet the criteria of the Drug Court Program and voluntarily want to participate in it. The staff of each Drug Court work to ensure that defendants have the support of the justice system and access to treatment and recovery services that will address their substance abuse problems and needs.

While the locations of the new courts has not been determined, members of the TDMHSAS Office of Criminal Justice Services, part of the Division of Substance Abuse Services, have been working with community leaders around the state – including judges, district attorneys, public defenders, treatment providers, faith-based organizations, parole/probation offices, veterans officials, and others – to  determine the best possible sites. Once these locations are finalized, an announcement will be forthcoming.

The existing drug courts that are funded by TDMHSAS*, and the cities or counties in which they cover, are:

  • 12th Judicial District – Bledsoe, Franklin, Grundy, Marion, Rhea, and Sequatchie counties
  • 13th Judicial District – Cumberland, Putnam, and White counties
  • 15th Judicial District –Jackson, Macon, Smith, Trousdale, and Wilson counties
  • 21st Judicial District – Hickman, Lewis, Perry, and Williamson counties
  • 23rd Judicial District – Cheatham, Dickson, Houston, and Humphreys counties
  • Anderson County Government – Anderson County
  • Blount County Government – Blount County
  • Bradley County Government – Bradley County
  • Bradley County Government (Juvenile) – Bradley County
  • Campbell County Government – Campbell County
  • City of Jackson Drug Court – City of Jackson
  • City of Milan – City of Milan
  • Coffee County Drug Court Foundation – Coffee County
  • Crockett County Government – Crockett County
  • Cumberland County Government (Juvenile) – Cumberland County
  • Dekalb County Government – Dekalb County
  • Dekalb County Government (Juvenile) – Dekalb County
  • Dyer County Government – Dyer County
  • Fayette County Government – Fayette County
  • Hamblen County Government – Hamblen County
  • Hamilton County Government – Hamilton County
  • Knox County Government – Knox County
  • Madison County Government – Madison County
  • Metropolitan Government of Nashville & Davidson County Residential Drug Court (DC4) – Davidson County
  • Montgomery County Government – Montgomery County
  • Morgan County Government – Morgan County
  • Rutherford County Government – Rutherford County
  • Scott County Government – Scott County
  • Sevier County Government – Sevier County
  • Shelby County Government – Shelby County
  • Sumner County Government – Sumner County
  • Warren County Government – Warren County
  • Weakley County Government – Weakley County
  • White County Government (Juvenile) – White County

*Please note that there are 10 additional courts that are not funded by TDMHSAS.

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