(RILEY COUNTY, KANSAS – February 21, 2023) As the 21st Judicial District Drug Court quickly approaches their one-year anniversary, they are hosting their first participant graduation February 22, 2023. To date, eighteen participants have received the benefits of Drug Court including individualized treatment plans, ongoing support, and accountability.

“We use a combination of close supervision and individualized treatment to hold participants accountable for their actions,” said Shelly Williams, Community Corrections Director for Riley County and Drug Court Grant Manager.

Drug Court participants have demonstrated significant success in the program. Collectively, participants have 2,940 days of sobriety, for an average of 184 days per person. The first Drug Court participant, who is graduating, has 401 days of sobriety. Regarding the program’s objective to “reduce the prevalence of substance use among Drug Court participants,” only 9.82% of drug tests submitted were positive (55 out of 560).

Additionally, no one has been removed from Drug Court since its inception in March 2022. Out of all weekly Drug Court sessions held, minus one week over the holidays, only one participant has missed one session. Further accomplishments include the opening of a male sober living unit through Oxford House. To-date zero participants have received a new conviction or  a new arrest.

The 2022 Kansas Legislature paved the way for Specialty Courts in Kansas. Kansas wrapped up criminal justice reform in December 2021, with several recommendations for the 2022 Legislature. One of the successes of the Reform Act, was a bill specific to Specialty Courts in Kansas. The bill authorized the Kansas Supreme Court to adopt Specialty Court rules and regulations, established a Specialty Court Funding Advisory Committee, a Specialty Court Resources Fund, authorized Courts to order defendants to participate in Specialty Court Programs, and allows for expungement of certain convictions when defendants complete the requirements of Specialty Courts.

A federal Department of Justice grant totaling $549,999 was awarded to the Riley County Community Corrections Department on December 9, 2021, to implement a drug treatment court program in the community. The 21st Judicial District Drug Court held their first Drug Court session on March 2, 2022.

As an alternative to incarceration, drug courts reduce the burden and costs of repeatedly processing high-risk/high-need, non‐violent offenders through the nation’s courts, jails, and prisons while providing offenders an opportunity to receive treatment and education. This approach helps participants go on to live productive lives and frees up law enforcement to focus on violent offenders, thus making all of us safer in our community.

Riley County Community Corrections provides a cost-effective means of promoting public safety through balancing offender accountability, supervision, and improving offenders’ ability to live productively and lawfully in their community.  The agency supervises adult and juvenile felony offenders placed on intensive supervision by the District Courts. For more information, visit https://www.rileycountyks.gov/17/Community-Corrections.