Sixth Circuit Court Judge Mary Spencer McGowan announced the Adult Drug Court and Veterans’ Drug Court, specialty programs for non-violent offenders battling drug addiction, received more than $290,000 in grant funding from Arkansas Community Corrections’ Accountability Court Grant Program.
Through Act 895 of the 90th General Assembly, Gov. Asa Hutchinson provided more than $2.9 million in funding to allow Arkansas Drug Courts to compete for grant funding from Arkansas Community Corrections to enhance program services. The one-time grant is awarded to applicants who “can demonstrate a reduction in the number of offenders committed to juvenile detention, state juvenile/treatment facilities or adult confinement facilities.”
The act also created the Legislative Criminal Justice Oversight Task Force that will study the performance and outcome measures.
“On behalf of the more than 600 defendants in both my Adult Drug Court and Veterans Treatment Court, I would like to thank the Governor for his generosity in funding these grants and the Arkansas Community Correction for awarding the grants,” McGowan said. “This money will allow us to enhance our Adult Drug Court and Veterans Treatment Court in keeping defendants off of drugs and out of the penitentiary.”
The grant, the largest in the State, will enable defendants to receive mental health counseling, bus transportation, incentives for positive performance to name a few areas covered by the grant said McGowan.
“Kicking drug addiction requires a lifestyle change, this often requires a change in environment, a change in habits that are associated with drug use and even a change in friends,” McGowan said. “It’s important that we provide these individuals with the tools necessary to make the transition into sober living and complete the program successfully.”
The Pulaski County Drug Court was created in 1994 through Department of Justice and Arkansas Department of Health funding. The Sixth Circuit Court is one of 55 drug court programs in the State of Arkansas. Judge McGowan has presided over the Pulaski County Drug Court since 1995 following the retirement of Judge Jack Lessenberry.