New county to be home to drug court

OXFORD – Starting next month, the 3rd Judicial District’s drug court will be under Union County administration even though it will continue to meet in Lafayette County.
Circuit Court Judge Andy Howorth ordered the change in June after he said Lafayette County supervisors had interfered with both the drug court and circuit court for more than a year.
Howorth agreed that the court would pay Lafayette County $2,000 per month for the use of its facilities, beginning with the fiscal year on Oct. 1.
“Actually, the only thing that will be changing is that the drug court’s funds will be handled by Union County,” said Lafayette County Circuit Clerk Mary Alice Busby.
The court has four staff members – a coordinator and assistant coordinator and two part-time field officers.
“We’re all case managers, though,” said coordinator Brandon Vance.
Howorth splits his time between circuit court and drug court.
The 3rd Judicial District’s drug court was formed in October 2007 and accepted its first cases the following spring. A total of 198 people are currently enrolled in the court’s program, which enables defendants to avoid serious prison time by getting help for their addictions, working and staying free of drugs.
The program provides a minimum of three years’ oversight for those who have no setbacks, so the first possible graduation will be in spring of 2011. Vance said many of the drug court’s enrollees are making good use of their extra chance at recovery.
“We’re enjoying some great success,” he said.
Contact Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or errol.castens@djournal.com.

Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal