ROMNEY -– A new adult drug court opened Monday to serve residents of Hampshire and Hardy Counties and, eventually, Pendleton County.
Supreme Court Justice Brent D. Benjamin was the keynote speaker at the
opening ceremony in the courtroom of the Hampshire County Judicial Center in Romney.
Adult Treatment Courts were implemented in West Virginia in 2003 with the opening of a regional mental health court serving Brooke, Hancock, Ohio and Marshall counties. The state's first adult drug court opened\ in August 2005 in the same Northern Panhandle region. The Eastern Panhandle drug court will be the fourteenth in the state, which together will now serve 29 of 55 counties.
The drug court in Hampshire and Hardy Counties will be overseen by Probation Officer Seth Haines and Circuit Judge Donald Cookman.
Adult Treatment Courts integrate alcohol and other drug treatment services and/or mental health treatment services with criminal justice system case processing. The goal is to reduce recidivism, reduce substance abuse, reduce costs of incarceration, and enhance community safety and quality of life for citizens.
Treatment teams consist of judges, magistrates, prosecutors, defense counsel, treatment providers, day report center employees, law enforcement personnel, probation officers, court staff, and others.
Through a non-adversarial team approach, criminal offenders who abuse or are addicted to substances are offered a minimum one-year program of treatment, education, community service, and other rehabilitative services as an alternative to traditional criminal justice processing. This occurs under ongoing intensive judicial supervision, including frequent alcohol and drug testing, in order to achieve abstinence and help the offender become a productive, law-abiding, and tax-paying citizen.