Hawkins County judge wants to start new 'Recovery Court'

Jeff Bobo • Nov 17, 2012 at 11:44 AM

ROGERSVILLE — Hawkins County Sessions Judge J. Todd Ross met recently with representatives of the attorney general’s office, Frontier Health and other community partners to discuss his goal of creating a new “Recovery Court” in the county by January.

Recovery courts, also known as drug courts, have had positive impacts on communities across the nation in battling the problem of drug addiction and other crimes spawned by the drug abuse epidemic.

Recovery court focuses on opportunities for recovery for drug offenders before entering the punishment phase.

These programs involve a combination of counseling, random drug tests and required attendance at 12-step programs.

There are approximately 3,000 drug court programs operating in the U.S.

A recovery court involves a team of community professionals and leaders who aid the court system in monitoring convicted individuals through a recovery process.

In Hawkins County, Frontier Health has been funded to play a big part in being on the “Recovery Team” — working with the Attorney General’s office and members of the community appointed by Ross.

Ross, who took office Sept. 1, has traveled to several counties talking to other judges and court officials studying what has worked best for communities Similar to Hawkins County.

He said this is the first of several steps intended to decrease crime and the toll it takes on Hawkins County.

“I am working extremely hard to restore the public’s confidence in this court and to make sure that this court operates within the bounds of the law and provides justice to the community, the victims, and the defendants,” Ross said. “I have made many changes to the procedures and policies of this court in the past two months in an effort to make sure that we act in accordance with the law and that we observe the rights of everyone that comes before the court.”

He added, “I am working to have a recovery court (drug/mental health court) operational by the first of the year. I am working to get a certified batterers intervention program in place to help curb the domestic violence. I have completely changed the way arraignments are handled to ensure that all defendants are brought before the court in a timely manner and don’t sit in jail for weeks without an arraignment.”

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