Forrest and Perry County Drug Court graduation set Nov. 22

November 18, 2005

The 12th Circuit Adult Drug Court program in Forrest and Perry counties will honor its first graduate in a ceremony at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 22, at the Saenger Theater in Hattiesburg.

The guest speaker will be Reggie Collier, former University of Southern Mississippi star quarterback and professional football player who now serves as director of community relations for USM athletics.

Circuit Judge Robert B. Helfrich, who founded the 12th Circuit Court Adult Drug Court program in Forrest and Perry counties on Oct. 8, 2003, will preside over the ceremony.

The ceremony will also recognize Drug Court participants who are moving up to Phase 2, Phase 3 and Phase 4 of the program. The program, which has four phases, requires a minimum of two years for completion, and can take up to five years.

Drug Court Coordinator Lucy Bates Davenport said 109 people are enrolled in the Drug Court program.

Drug Courts are special courts which seek to rehabilitate drug-using offenders through drug treatment and intense supervision with drug testing and frequent court appearances. Drug courts offer the incentive of a chance to remain out of jail, and the sanction of a jail sentence if participants fail to remain drug-free and in compliance with all program requirements. Participants are required to work, and if they dropped out of school, they must pursue a General Education Development (GED) degree.

Mississippi has active 15 drug courts and seven in planning stages.