Drug Court

Jackson County became just the second county in the nation - after Miami-Dade in Florida - to begin operating a Drug Court from which non-violent offenders can "graduate" after going through rehab and receiving other counseling. As it falls under the law enforcement wing of COMBAT, Drug Court is operated through the Jackson County Prosecutor's Office and is geared toward helping people begin their sobriety, find employment or enroll as full-time students and become productive members of society.
Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker speaks during a recent Drug Court graduation
More than 1,200 people have graduated from the Jackson County Drug Court, with more than 96% remaining conviction free within 5 years of their graduation.

"Our drug court is now a model for others all across the nation," County Executive Mike Sanders pointed out.

No Criminal Record
The Drug Court program lasts between 12 to 18 months, with participants receiving court-supervised treatment. Drug Court allows eligible individuals an alternative to the traditional criminal prosecution.

After a defendant agrees to complete substance abuse treatment, participate in community-based job training and stay drug free, his or her prosecution is put on hold until all requirements are met. When participants succeed in fulfilling those requirements and graduate from Drug Court, the charges against them are dismissed. Participants leave the Drug Court clean and sober, employed or full-time students, and without having a conviction on their record.

"We have found a key to remaining drug free is being employed," Jackson County Prosecutor Jim Kanatzar said. "It's hard to find employment with the stigma of a criminal record hanging over you."

He added that drug abuse is a problem you can't "just jail away,"  that Drug Court is the best means of rehabilitating the non-violent drug offenders. "Drug abuse is both a health care and legal problem."

Court Success
  • 100% of Drug Court graduates are employed full-time or in school full-time at the time of their graduation.
  • 96% remain conviction free after graduating from the Jackson County Drug Court.
Not only have other counties within the United States used the Jackson County Drug Court as a model, but officials from European nations have studied the Court for use in their countries.

Drug Court Programs
Drug Court programs include:
  • Anger management
  • Case management
  • Employment training and placement
  • Group counseling
  • Individual counseling
  • Prevention component for children
  • Substance abuse treatment
  • Women's groups
All services are provided by the Drug Court Client Advocacy Center.