Officials speak to Rotary about drug court

PARKERSBURG – Officials with the West Central Regional Drug Court are asking area business leaders to consider hiring participants in the rehabilitation program.

Drug Court Judge Donna Jackson and Drug Court coordinator Kat Boggs spoke Monday to the Parkersburg Rotary Club, detailing the program that gives non-violent, drug-related offenders a chance at a reduced sentence by participating in an intensive treatment program.

Jackson said she wanted to speak with Rotary members to ask them to consider helping with the program.

When hiring “we would appreciate immensely if you would just consider the court participants,” Jackson said, adding part of the program is to help offenders find stable housing and employment.

Boggs said the program has a 76 percent success rate, which is higher than national success rates for drug courts and for general recidivism rates. The program serves about 40 people at a time.

“Our caseload has to be small because it is intensive supervision,” she said.

That supervision includes random drug screenings, daily conferences with a case manager, participation in a clean and sober program, weekly court dates and a daily curfew. Jackson said the program helps participants begin a new life and steers them away from negative influences that helped lead to their addiction and legal problems.

“It’s tough,” Jackson said of the program. “A lot of people think this is a ‘get-out-of-jail-free’ program. It is not.”

Jackson also lauded the program’s many success stories, where people were able to graduate from the drug court program and become valuable members of the community.

“It is not always just the thug on the street,” she said. “When we talk about addiction, we’re talking about everyday people.”