Gartin Building Courtroom with the Great Seal of the State of Mississippi

14th Circuit Drug Court graduation set for May 21

May 18, 2018

Twenty people who have spent at least three years under the supervision of the 14th Circuit Drug Court will graduate on Monday, May 21.

A graduation ceremony is scheduled for 2 p.m. at Southwest Mississippi Community College in Summit. The ceremony will be held in the Horace Holmes Student Union Hall.

Rep. Angela Cockerham of Magnolia will be the guest speaker. She serves on the State Drug Courts Advisory Committee. She began her service in the Mississippi House of Representatives in 2006. She is chair of the House Energy Committee and vice-chair of the House Management Committee.

Circuit Judges Michael Taylor and David Strong will preside over the graduation ceremony. May is National Drug Court Month. Many drug courts across the country schedule graduation ceremonies to coincide with the national observance as well as with high school and college graduations.

Some of the graduates will speak. Each has a personal success story.

Judge Taylor said, “We have people who have made great strides in their education and vocational training. We have people who have gotten jobs, gotten better jobs, gotten their families back together. We are excited to celebrate the next chapter in their recovery stories and sobriety.”

A successful Drug Court alumnus will give the benediction. Rev. Heath Ferguson, Director of Pastoral Care and Faith Relations at Mississippi Baptist Health Systems, graduated from the he 14th Circuit Drug Court in 2010.

The 14th Circuit Drug Court currently has about 240 participants from Lincoln, Pike and Walthall counties. All must spend at least three years in the program and meet all of its requirements before being able to graduate.

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. There are 22 adult felony programs, with a drug court operating in every Circuit Court district in the state. There are 14 juvenile programs, three family courts and three misdemeanor programs. More than 3,600 people are enrolled in drug courts statewide.