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

15th Circuit Drug Court graduation set for May 17

May 9, 2019

U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith will be the guest speaker at the 15th Circuit Drug Court graduation ceremony on May 17 at 10 a.m. at Main Street Baptist Church in Hattiesburg.

About 60 people are expected to graduate from the program, according to 15th Circuit Court Administrator Alex Parker Shoemaker.

Circuit Judge Prentiss Harrell is proud of the Drug Court's success. He said, "We have a record number of graduates this year. The level of success that we have achieved with this program simply would not be possible without the support from the legal community, the community at large, the District Attorney's Office, and law enforcement in the 15th Circuit Court District."

The graduates include people who completed a high school equivalency program or obtained certification in a vocational or trade program. Some enrolled in college. Several worked toward a Master's Degree. Those who became parents have drug-free babies.

The graduation ceremony is an annual event, held during May, which is National Drug Court Month. Judge Harrell and the 15th Circuit Drug Court cordially invite the public to attend the graduation celebration. Supreme Court Chief Justice Mike Randolph and Justice Dawn Beam plan to attend.

The 15th Circuit includes Jefferson Davis, Lamar, Lawrence, Marion and Pearl River counties.

The state has 40 drug courts, including 22 adult felony programs, three adult misdemeanor programs, 12 juvenile drug courts and three family drug courts.

By addressing the root causes of criminal activity and substance use disorders, the adult drug courts offer participants an alternative to incarceration. Drug courts provide participants access to resources and opportunities they need by coordinating the efforts of the judiciary, prosecution, defense counsel, probation, law enforcement, treatment, mental health and social service providers. This interdisciplinary approach offers participants the opportunity to become productive, law abiding citizens, which reduces recidivism and provides for healthier communities.