Justice Kitchens to speak at Hinds County Drug Court graduation December 14

December 8, 2016

Mississippi Supreme Court Justice James W. Kitchens will be the guest speaker at the Hinds County Adult Drug Court graduation at 6 p.m. Dec. 14. The ceremony will be held in Courtroom No. 1 on the second floor of the Hinds County Courthouse in Jackson.

Justice James W. Kitchens

Ten people are expected to graduate, said Circuit Judge Winston Kidd, who supervises the Drug Court. The ceremony will be the 38th graduation exercise for the state's second oldest drug court.

Circuit Judge Tomie Green will introduce Justice Kitchens. The Crystal Springs native has served on the Supreme Court for eight years. He will begin his second term on the court in January 2017.

Justice Kitchens said, “It’s hard to find an American family that hasn’t been scarred by the scourge of drug addiction. As a young, idealistic district attorney in the 1970s, I naively believed ‘the drug problem’ – a relatively new thing in Mississippi in those days – could be prosecuted and incarcerated away. How wrong I was! Our country’s War on Drugs has, for the most part, been a colossal failure. While prosecution and incarceration are necessary components of that ongoing war, Drug Courts are doing far more good and now have a solid history of helping to break the chains of addiction and saving lives. It’s an honor to speak to Hinds County’s drug court graduates, for whom I have nothing but the highest admiration.”

Drug courts seek to rehabilitate drug-using offenders through drug treatment and intense supervision with frequent court appearances and random drug testing. Drug courts offer the incentive of a chance to remain out of jail and be employed and the sanction of a prison sentence if participants fail to remain drug-free and in compliance with all program requirements.

Mississippi currently has 42 drug courts. About 3,550 people are enrolled in drug courts statewide.