COLUMBUS — Johnson County Rehabilitation Court has been honored for its role in helping offenders with addiction recover.
Johnson County Reentry Court, operated by Johnson 2 County Superior Court, was last year named Recovery Program of the Year by Recover Out Loud, a nonprofit drug addiction recovery organization. based in Columbus. Court received the award at Recover Out Loud’s 4th Annual SoberBash Awards on New Year’s Eve in Columbus. SoberBash is an event designed to celebrate and honor the efforts of all individuals, organizations and allies who support recovery, according to Recover Out Loud.
The county’s reentry court is one of 11 reentry courts in the state, and most attendees and graduates are recovering drug addicts who have served time in the Indiana Department of Corrections for crimes related to Drugs. They enter the program with the goal of becoming sober for the rest of their lives and to avoid reoffending. The program also helps them find employment.
The Rehabilitation Court was established in 2018 as a problem-solving court, with specialized procedures within the criminal justice system that address underlying issues that may contribute to certain criminal offences. The judge works closely with a community service team to develop a plan and monitor the participants. Among those involved are prosecutors, probation officers, law enforcement, defense attorneys, community corrections and treatment providers.
Many participants in the program have been imprisoned for drug-related offenses, but it is not limited to these. Participants must successfully complete Recovery While Incarcerated, an Indiana Department of Corrections substance abuse recovery program. The program accepts offenders whose criminality appears to be related to their addiction or offenders who continue to commit crimes related to their addiction.
In a video message for SoberBash participants, Recover Out Loud and Superior Court 2 Judge Peter Nugent accepted the award and thanked Recover Out Loud for its role in shaping a life of sobriety and success. for its participants. The reentry court is proud of its role in recovery efforts, he said.
“We are proud to be part of the recovery efforts here in Johnson County, as well as in central Indiana. We encourage each of you in your recovery efforts – your success is our success,” Nugent said in the video message.
Misty Hogan, admissions coordinator at Cardinal Recovery and alumnus of the program, nominated the court for the award because she had seen firsthand how the court helps people in recovery, she said.
“First, the justice system is always there to get us. Two, we can change. And three, the past doesn’t have to define us,” Hogan said. “The fact that I now work in a treatment center, I never thought that would be where I would be.”
The awards ceremony was an inspiration to many in attendance, including other alumni and participants.
“It was really important to the people at SoberBash — the people at the back-to-school court — to see the court win the award,” said Hogan, who is also a Recover Out Loud frontman. “I won it last year. It was important for me to be there again this year and to name them and see them win.
Reentry court staff had no idea the court had been appointed until representatives of Recover Out Loud spoke to them after one of the court meetings last year. The tribunal is an asset to the community and stakeholders are happy to participate, Nugent said.
“This program has helped people get back on their feet,” he said. “It’s a part of the week where I feel like I’m making more of a difference.”
Reentry Court and Cardinal Recovery work together to change lives. Hogan now regularly works with the reentry court to help others, she said.
“There aren’t many programs like this, and it’s getting more and more popular. It’s cool to see,” Hogan said.
The program has helped people reconnect with friends and loved ones they haven’t spoken to in years, and that’s something Nugent and all stakeholders are proud of, he said.
The court is at capacity and has a waiting list, which shows the effectiveness of the program. The county has now launched an Adult Drug Resolution Court out of Superior Court 1 and is planning a Mental Health Court out of Superior Court 2, said court administrator Brandi Foster Kirkendall.
The drug court will undergo state certification later this month, Kirkendall said. An adult drug problem resolution court and a veterans court are also operated by the Greenwood City Court, according to state documents.