St. Mary’s County Juvenile Court Launches New Program

St. Mary’s County Juvenile Court, in conjunction with local agencies, plans to launch a new program that will hold law-breaking St. Mary’s County youth with alcohol and substance abuse problems accountable and assist them in living drug and alcohol-free lives. The three top substances that are abused by St. Mary’s County youth are alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine. Data also shows that poly drug use is on the rise.

Juvenile drug courts are emerging as a promising intervention strategy in working with youth who have offended and who have alcohol and substance abuse issues. A number of agencies within St. Mary’s County have been working together to develop a juvenile drug court that provides structured treatment and intensive supervision to correct offending youth and address their alcohol and substance abuse problems. The partners involved in developing the program include the County Administrative Judge, State’s Attorney, Public Defender, Department of Juvenile Services, Office of the Sheriff, Walden/Sierra, Inc., Local Management Board, St. Mary’s County Public Schools, St. Mary’s County Health Department, mental health professionals, and the Executive and Deputy Director of the Maryland State Drug Treatment Court Commission.

A public presentation to educate the local community about the new program will be held on Thursday, January 22, 2004, at 2:00 p.m., in Courtroom #2 of the St. Mary’s County Circuit Courthouse, located at 41605 Courthouse Drive, Leonardtown, Maryland 20657. Attendees will learn:

· The mission of the juvenile drug court program
· The role of the judge in the juvenile drug court
· The role of the juvenile drug court treatment team
· How the four-phase juvenile drug court program works
· Benefits to youth who participate in the juvenile drug court

“I am so pleased that all of the agencies have come together to work at developing a juvenile drug court program that will provide offending youth with a structured program that is designed to improve the well-being of the youth and the community through an integrated juvenile justice system approach that reduces juvenile alcohol and other substances and increases public safety. The energy and enthusiasm that all of these agencies have for this effort makes me proud and pleased to live and work in St. Mary’s County,” stated Marvin S. Kaminetz, County Administrative Judge.

For more information about the Juvenile Drug Court Program, contact Bill Tench, Circuit Court Administrator, at 301-475-4791.

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