Clark County Drug Court celebrates 15 years with public event
Shauna McCloskey, District Court
Vancouver, WA – Clark County Therapeutic Specialty Courts will celebrate National Drug Court Month, Mental Health Awareness Month and the 15th anniversary of Clark County’s Drug Court in a community ceremony on Thursday, May 22.
Superior and District courts will host the 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. ceremony on the main stage at Esther Short Park, just south of Eighth Street and west of Columbia Street. The public can hear personal stories of some of the court’s 1,070 graduates.
Judge James Rulli pioneered Clark County’s Adult Drug Court. Since its inception, “We have succeeded in reducing crime and drug abuse, reuniting children with their families, and saving the citizens millions of dollars,” he said.
Success will continue because of partnerships with the community, public and private health professionals and law enforcement, Judge Rulli said.
Judge Vern Schreiber, who has experience presiding over three specialty courts, said he thinks therapeutic court is the best approach to criminal justice practices and the future of rehabilitation. The emphasis is “on treating the underlying disorder of substance abuse and/or mental illness instead of ongoing punishment,” Judge Schreiber said.
Nationally, 75 percent of drug court graduates are not re-arrested. In the past four years in Clark County, Drug Court graduates saved taxpayers more than 72,000 jail bed nights, or approximately $7.2 million.
Clark County maintains six therapeutic specialty courts. They are: Adult Felony Drug Court; Family Treatment Court; Juvenile Recovery Court; Substance Abuse Court; Mental Health Court; and Veterans Therapeutic Court.