Published: May 12, 2021

Twelve claim new lives thanks to Recovery Court

Today I am happy to share good news with you.

Six women and six men have restored their lives through our judicial district’s Recovery Court programs in Lawrence and Maury Counties. They will be honored at a graduation ceremony Monday, May 24 at Abigail’s Field in Bobby Brewer Park.

Two years ago these 12 were in jail serving substantial sentences for felonies stemming from their substance use disorders. Today they all have full-time jobs. Two have regained custody of their children, and several have had their driver’s license reinstated. All are making steady payments on their court costs and fines.

Two years ago assessments showed they were capable of success if they traded jail for an extremely strict program of recovery. It included frequent, unannounced drug tests; home visits; intensive outpatient therapy and in some cases, residential treatment; and appearance in court twice a month. They were expected to live in a sober environment, improve their education and job skills, and pursue employment. 

Participants who failed drug tests or didn’t meet other expectations were sent back to jail, either temporarily or to complete their sentences. You see, the group that started was larger than 12.

And if 12 seems like a small number to impact, please add the parents, siblings, spouses, children, aunts, uncles, and friends who have surely struggled along with them. Monday, May 24 is an important day for them as well.

Recovery Court Coordinator Tamara Robinson tells me there are currently 14 Lawrence Countians, 15 Maury Countians, and two Wayne Countians working their way through the 18-24 month program. Circuit Judge David Allen presides over all and is willing to also give time to a future program in Giles Counties. 

During this past year, Recovery Court has been conducted as a drive-through event, held in the parking lots of First United Methodist in Lawrenceburg and
St. Paul AMC in Columbia. With COVID restrictions lifting, First Methodist volunteers are planning to resume the dinners they hosted for Recovery Court participants prior to their twice-a-month court appearances.

Recovery Court programs are run by a team of professionals who meet with participants and make decisions about them.  Our team includes Robinson, Judge Allen, representatives from the District Attorney and Public Defender’s office, Maury County Case Manager Sharon Medley, representatives of the jails that are involved, and Omni Health. South Central Human Resources Agency (SCHRA) receives a state grant to oversee Recovery Court in our Judicial District.

Other program partners include Hope Restored, providers of intensive outpatient recovery, relapse prevention, and Moral Reconation Therapy for Recovery Court participants. Rev. Angy Trimmer conducts a year-long Life Skills class with some current participants and graduates.

I will be at the May 24 graduation ceremony, cheering on these 12 individuals who have worked so hard for their new lives. Thanks to all who helped them achieve their goals.