Local Drug Court Recognized Nationally

Ottawa County’s Adult Drug Treatment Court Nationally Recognized for Exemplary Practices.

The 20th Circuit Court has given Ottawa County another reason to boast. Its Adult Drug Treatment Court, a specialty program for non-violent felony offenders with substance use disorders, has been selected as a “mentor court” by the United States Department of Justice and the National Association of Drug Court Professionals. This distinction is awarded to high-performing drug courts that demonstrate exemplary practices and operate with fidelity to the drug court model. Only 9 of 3,000 courts in the US were chosen for this award.

An award ceremony will be held on Thursday, April 13 at 11AM in Courtroom 3B of the Ottawa County Grand Haven Courthouse. The ceremony is open to the public.

“With thousands of drug courts in operation across the United States, this honor really speaks to the quality and integrity of the work our drug court is doing,” said Judge Mark A. Feyen. “Even more affirming is that this award comes on the heels of being nationally recognized by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in 2016 in a webinar discussing how drug courts are leading the way in criminal justice reform,” said Feyen.

The drug court will hold the “mentor court” distinction for the next three years. “As a mentor court we will have the opportunity to host other drug court programs from around the United States, provide consulting and technical assistance to drug courts, and participate in national drug court planning and policy initiatives,” said Drug Court Coordinator, Andy Brown. “This is an outstanding opportunity to showcase the work of our drug court and advance the reputation of Ottawa County and the 20th Circuit Court,” said Brown.

The Ottawa County Adult Drug Treatment Court is an alternative to traditional incarceration or probation and is eligible for only certain offenders. The method saves money, lowers recidivism and changes lives. A study conducted by Grand Valley State University in 2014 demonstrated the adult drug treatment court significantly reduced new crime and repeated drug and alcohol use among offenders. Drug court participants were 73% less likely to commit a new crime within three years of discharge from the drug court when compared to a similar group of people who were sentenced to traditional probation.

The drug court is funded by time-limited grants annually awarded by the Michigan Supreme Court, Department of Justice, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.