11th Circuit Drug Court celebrates graduation

November 7, 2006

The 11th Circuit Drug Court will celebrate its second graduation with a ceremony at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 14, at the Coahoma County Courthouse in Clarksdale. The graduation will be held in the Circuit Courtroom.

Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Kay Cobb will be the keynote speaker. Circuit Judge Al Smith will preside.

Six people are expected to graduate.

The ceremony is the second graduation for the program which started in October 2003. Two people graduated from the program in April 2006, said Drug Court Coordinator Tracy Swafford. About 80 people are enrolled in the program. Participants must spend at least two years in the program.

Judge Smith said, “Drug Courts provide the Court with a vital sentencing alternative to traditional incarceration. Drug Courts provide participants with a highly supervised environment in which they learn skills necessary for recovery and a transition back into society.”

Mississippi has 17 active drug courts. Drug courts 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.

The 11th Circuit includes Bolivar, Coahoma, Quitman and Tunica counties.