Tennessee's Recovery Courts to Expand

Monday, December 15, 2014 | 07:21am

NASHVILLE – Hundreds more Tennesseans caught in a cycle of drug use and crime will have the chance to pursue treatment over prison with the help of new federal grant funds coming to the state.

The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) with support from the Tennessee Department of Correction (TDC) has been awarded nearly $1 million to expand the Morgan County Statewide Recovery Court and 28 participating county courts across the state.

The $1 million federal grant will support 60 individuals a year, allowing for a total of 180 men to receive services during the 3-year grant cycle. The referrals to the program will come primarily from felony recovery courts in Tennessee seeking more intensive services for their male defendants.

“The program in Morgan County and the other participating county recovery courts provides an alternative to going to prison for non-violent felony offenders with mental health and substance use disorders,” said E. Douglas Varney, TDMHSAS Commissioner. “This is a high-risk group of individuals who enter the program voluntarily for a chance to get long term treatment and turn their lives around.”

28 Tennessee Counties participating in 9 Judicial District Recovery Court
Anderson, Blount, Cheatham, Clay, Cumberland, DeKalb, Hardin, Hickman, Houston, Humphreys, 
Jackson, Knox, Lewis, Macon, Obion, Overton, Perry, Pickett, Putnam, Smith, Stewart, Trousdale, 
Van Buren, Warren, Weakley, White, Williamson, Wilson

Once individuals complete the Morgan County Residential Recovery Court program they will transition back to their home county court, where grant funds will continue to provide for a range of support services to help them continue along a path of recovery.

The Morgan County Recovery Court is Tennessee’s statewide residential recovery court for men, offering a higher level of treatment to help them overcome their addiction issues. Currently the court accepts only adult male non-violent offenders, 18 and older, that would otherwise be headed to a state prison.

Goals of Tennessee Recovery Courts

- Redirect individuals out the criminal justice system
- Increase commitment to substance abuse treatment and recovery
- Reduce the use of alcohol and drugs, with an emphasis on Rx Drugs
- Provide recovery support services to 28 county courts

“The opportunity here is to focus on the root causes for an individual’s criminal behavior,” said Commissioner Varney. “Our hope is the men in this program regain the ability to sustain full-time employment, financial freedom, a stable home life and connections with loved ones and go on to lead healthy, drug-free and productive lives.”

The mission of the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services is to plan for and promote the availability of a comprehensive array of quality prevention, early intervention, treatment, habilitation and rehabilitation services and supports based on the needs and choices of individuals and families served. For more information, visit www.tn.gov/mental.

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