By mtjulietintern

Submitted to The Democrat
Judge John Wootten Jr. speaks during the 15th Judicial District’s Drug Court program graduation ceremony April 8. The 15th Judicial District Drug Court program has served Wilson, Trousdale, Macon, Jackson, and Smith counties for the past 15 years.

The 15th Judicial District Drug Court program held its graduation ceremony April 8 with Judge John Wootten Jr. presiding. 

Four men graduated the program after participating anywhere from one to four years. 

The drug court program started in 2002, designed to combine treatment and intensive supervision for nonviolent felony offenders who have had contact with the courts and have an admitted drug and/or alcohol addiction.

Wootten said the graduation was special, not only for the four program graduates, but also because one of the graduates was a participant in the veterans’ track.  According to Wootten, the program recently added a separate track geared toward the unique needs and services of Armed Forces veterans. 

The recent graduates are all employed fulltime, have suitable long-term housing and are compliant with supervision and screening requirements. Perhaps most importantly, the participants maintained a clean and sober lifestyle change for at least the last 18-24 months. The goal of the program is to break the cycle of re-incarceration. 

Wootten contributes the program’s success to the hard work of each individual participant, as well as the Drug Court team. Drug Court members include Wootten, Assistant District Attorney Jimmy Lea, Assistant Public Defender Shelley Thompson, Cumberland Mental Health director Nathan Miller, Veterans Affairs certified peer specialist Clarke Harrison, Board of Parole probation officer Jeremiah Smith, Drug Court coordinator Jeff E. Dickson Sr., case manager Paula Langford and case manager Shelly Allison.

The 15th Judicial District Drug Court program has served Wilson, Trousdale, Macon, Jackson, and Smith counties for the past 15 years.

Staff Reports