Drug Court grads honored

Published 4:52 am Wednesday, March 2, 2005

By by Lee Weyhrich
The Poarch Creek Indians Tribal drug court graduation was held last week.
According to tribal law, drug court is a way for drug offenders to wipe the slate clean for minor counts of drug law violation.
According to Judge Earnie White the 12-month program generally takes more than a year to complete due to the cold-turkey approach that the offenders have to take to pass the program.
"The hardest part for most people is changing their lifestyle," White said.
According to White backsliding can be punished by community service, expulsion from the program and even jail time.
According to the Tribal Drug Court website the program has four phases that have to be reached.
"Level I includes assessment and intensive inpatient/outpatient assistance including urinalysis exams," the site states. "Level II provides moderate outpatient assistance including follow-up to any inpatient care from Level I. Level III is a less intensive follow-up and emphasizes a drug free lifestyle and attempts to develop the mechanisms for coping with stressful situations which the offender might encounter. Level IV provides aftercare, that is, substance abuse support through available community resources on and off the reservation."
Reverend Harlan Morgan, Pastor of the Atmore Apostolic Church was the guest speaker of the graduation ceremony.
The ceremony was to congratulate James Bagwell, Alice Gibson, Stephanie Kendrick and Brandon Manac for completion of the program.
Rev. Harlan Morgan of the Atmore Apostolic Church was the inspirational speaker for the ceremony and he and his wife provided musical entertainment.
" Donna White, the tribal court director, is a member of our church and she just invited us to speak there and to sing," Morgan said. "Several of the folks who go to our church are actually members of the Creek Nation."
Morgan believes this is one of the first, if not the first, Tribal drug court in the nation.
"I know they have gone to other tribes to help set up the program.," Morgan said.
According to the Tribal Court website, Poarch drug court is a Mentor Drug Court for the National Association of Drug Court Professionals Network.
The Tribe received a grant in 1997 to begin planning the drug Court program.
The graduation of these four people marks yet another milestone in the program.

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