The Honorable Judge Don Thompson (presiding judge), Chief Judge Kristina Graham, Sheriffs, official guest and the entire drug court team joined participants of the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit (LMJC) Felony Drug Court in celebrating Christmas with the participants and children. Donations were made by the LMJC Drug Court team, Public Defender’s Office, and the District Attorney’s office to purchase gifts for 22 children. Each group divided up the list and bought and wrapped the gifts.

The purpose of the LMJC Felony Drug Court is to protect the community by decreasing drug-related crime and reducing recidivism by providing treatment to the offenders to address their addiction. As Governor Deal led the state of Georgia through Criminal Justice Reform, the presence of accountability courts has grown rapidly within the state. These courts are changing lives and saving millions in tax payer dollars.

The LMJC Drug Court currently has 25 participants enrolled in the program with a census goal of 50 to be enrolled by June 2019. These participants are held accountable for their criminal behaviors through a very intense program lasting 19-24 months. The program is designed to lay a foundation of honesty, effort and accountability from the participant.

“There is nothing easy about completing the Accountability Court program,” said (Judge Don Thompson). “These participants are required to obtain employment, attend treatment groups, complete course work, and appear before the Court weekly for accountability. Many of them are working harder in their recovery than anything they have ever done.”

This level of accountability and the structure provided by the Court is something that many participants have never experienced and is leading to positive changes in their lives. “In most cases we have to teach them how to change an entire life of bad habits, because up until now their life has been all about using”, said (Judge Don Thompson). “As a result of this program and the work of the team and participants, they are beginning to rebuild their families and become productive members of our community.”

About the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit (LMJC) Felony Drug Court:

The LMJC Adult Felony Drug Court was awarded a grant by the Council of Accountability Court Judges for FY 2018 (July 1, 2017-June 30, 2018). This grant provided the initial funding for the implementation of the Felony Drug Court. Following several months of planning, the first participants plead into the program in Oct. of 2017. The LMJC circuit serves Georgia offenders residing in Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade and Walker counties. For more information about the LMJC Felony Drug Court contact Gretchen Neal at gretchenneal@lmjc.net , or to download an application and referral form, visit the website at LMJC.net.