TDOC announces opening of nation's first statewide drug recovery court

Tuesday, July 23, 2013 at 6:49pm

A new recovery option is opening in August for Tennessee’s drug-addicted criminals — a recovery court intended to treat substance abuse and free up prison space for violent offenders.

The Tennessee Department of Correction said the program is the nation’s first statewide residential recovery court, diverting offenders in need of substance abuse treatment from prison.

TDOC partnered with the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse to open the treatment center, which will be operated by the private Davidson County Drug Court Support Foundation.

The Morgan County facility opens in Wartburg, Tenn., on Aug. 1 and will offer services for up to 100 individuals needing mental health treatment, which is expected to reduce the number of repeat offenders.

“This program should not be considered being soft on crime,” said Derrick Schofield, TDOC commissioner. “What it says is that we’re going to place people in the best option to ensure they don’t re-offend. But also, we’re going to make sure we have a prison bed available for people who commit violent offenses that harm our communities.

The recovery court is expected to cut prison expenses by costing nearly half as much per person than incarceration. According to TDOC, there are currently 3,378 drug offenders in the state system, which is 16 percent of the total state inmate population.

7 Comments on this post:

By: political1iam on 7/24/13 at 12:12

Bravo to Judge Seth Norman!

By: FaceBook:Emmett... on 7/24/13 at 8:24

It could be a good thing for a certain number of people. It has to be properly staffed and the Davidson County program has not been. The Sherrif's Dep't. person in charge over there is alleged to have been part of a ring bringing drugs into the county. I read the story here in this paper, although no further reports have come out. I don't know whether it's being hushed up or what.

By: airvols on 7/24/13 at 9:22

It's about time!

By: Rocket99 on 7/24/13 at 10:23

At least it appears they have the proper departments involved. I'm sure some of the money will probably come from TennCare.

Big question is, how do they decide which 100 out of the 3,378 to treat? I'm guessing eventually most all of the inmates will go through the program.

By: FaceBook:Emmett... on 7/24/13 at 10:48

It will fill up fast and probably none of those already in prison will be considered. If a person isn't referred to it as their first sentencing, it's unlikely it will change later.

By: not_guilty on 7/24/13 at 5:24

I have a question that the article does not answer. Did the General Assembly create this new court?

Article VI, ยง 1 of the Constitution of Tennessee states, "The judicial power of this state shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such Circuit, Chancery and other Inferior Courts as the Legislature shall from time to time, ordain and establish; in the judges thereof, and in justices of the peace. The Legislature may also vest such jurisdiction in Corporation Courts as may be deemed necessary. Courts to be holden by justices of the peace may also be established."

The story here suggests that two executive branch departments created this program. If that is so, I wonder whether any "court" thereby created has any jurisdiction to exercise any judicial function.

By: courier37027 on 7/25/13 at 6:11

I hope Obamacare is taxing these prisoners who probably do not have health insurance.