Trenton Rotary Club learns about Third Judicial Circuit Court’s treatment program

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The Third Judicial Circuit Court’s Treatment Court program was the focus of a presentation at the Thursday, May 16, meeting of the Trenton Rotary Club, held at the BTC Bank community room. Jackie Soptic presided at the business meeting, Chris Hoffman gave the prayer, and Steve Taylor served as the sergeant at arms.

Phil Hoffman introduced Mercer County Associate Circuit Judge Matt Krohn, who discussed the program that assists drug and alcohol offenders in Grundy, Harrison, Mercer, and Putnam counties. The court’s mission first implemented in 2002 in Grundy and Mercer counties, is to identify and successfully treat individuals with alcohol and/or drug addictions. This effort aims to help them become productive citizens, reduce crime, protect the community, stop generational abuse, and save county and state resources.

Participants in the program must meet several requirements, including abstaining from using or possessing any drugs, drug paraphernalia, marijuana, or alcohol. They must make frequent court appearances, attend community-based support meetings, undergo frequent drug and alcohol testing, meet with their probation officer regularly, complete community service hours, pay treatment court fees, and maintain part-time or full-time employment, schooling, or training. Additionally, participants are required to write essays explaining their desire to be in the program and their goals upon completion.

Judge Krohn emphasized that “treatment court comes first,” noting that individuals must confront and deal with their addiction to effectively manage other aspects of their lives.

A team of judicial officials meets every Monday to review individual cases and make recommendations to the judge about the next course of action. The program can take from one to two years to complete, depending on the individual’s situation. At the end of the program, participants celebrate their success with a “Graduation Day.” Judge Krohn shared that there are many success stories, including one from Tyler Hines, who shared his story with the club.

The program incurs little to no cost to the Third Judicial Circuit, as it receives state and federal funding along with money from court fines. Penny Hines, the program coordinator, spoke about her job duties and the requirements for participants. Melanie Tipton, who works with the program through Preferred Family Healthcare, provides counseling services. Fonda Shipley, through her church, organizes meals for participants during evening meetings in Princeton. These meetings, held monthly, include speakers who address various life skills such as filling out job applications, dressing for interviews, communication skills, and cooking skills. The meetings bring together participants from all counties, with up to 35 individuals present at any time. Efforts are underway to involve other churches and organizations in providing meals.

During the business meeting, members were reminded that the club is responsible for putting up U.S. flags around the courthouse on Flag Day, June 14. The club has also been asked to provide volunteers to help with the Green Hills Animal Shelter’s fundraiser, “Money for Mutts,” on Memorial Day weekend.

The program for the May 23 meeting of the Rotary Club will be presented by Cara McClellan of the Green Hills Recreational Association.

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