15th Judicial District Drug Court holds graduation ceremony

PRENTISS, MS (WDAM) - The 15th Judicial District Drug Court held graduation ceremonies in Prentiss. The Drug Court program is an alternative to a prison sentence for non-violent drug offenders. There were 23 graduates recognized as completing the program and given their diplomas by 15th Judicial District Circuit Judge Prentiss Harrell.

"They are able to go out into society and be productive citizens, we're extremely proud of them" Harrell said.

Participants are recommended by the Law Enforcement District Attorney's Office and a Drug Court coordinator screens them to see if they are appropriate for the program. They are also randomly drug tested and required to do community service and be employed

The Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) has determined the Drug Court program saves the state over 3 million dollars each year.

The Drug Court program started in Miami in 1989 and by 2012, there were over 2,734 Drug Courts operating across the country. Southern District Judge Keith Starrett brought the program to Mississippi in 1996.

The Drug Court program has an eighty-five percent success rate. There are 238 participants from the 15th District currently enrolled in the program and there are forty-seven Drug Courts statewide.