Atlantic Judicial Circuit Drug Court
The Atlantic Judicial Circuit Drug Court was established in 2009 under the leadership of Superior Court Judge D. Jay Stewart to reduce substance abuse, related criminal activity, and recidivism by providing quality, holistic substance abuse treatment and thereby creating a safer community environment as an alternative form for offender rehabilitation. The 24-month program provides offenders intensive outpatient chemical dependency treatment that is supervised by judge.
The mission of the Atlantic Judicial Drug Court is to reduce substance abuse, related criminal activity, and recidivism by providing quality, holistic substance abuse treatment and thereby creating a safer community environment.
- To assist drug court participants in becoming abstinent and maintaining sobriety
- To minimize recidivism among drug court participants
- To improve the quality of life of drug court participants and their families through vocational training and drug education
- To improve public safety by reducing the crime rate in our community
- To pay restitution to victim and/or community, if any
Persons arrested on drug charges must meet certain criteria to be eligible as a candidate for drug court. To be eligible, a defendant must have been arrested for drug or drug motivated offenses; or sentenced to a period of probation under the First Offender Act or have at least 3 years remaining on their probation sentenced; and test positive on at least one drug screen while on probation or admit to using drugs or alcohol while on probation.
Certain legal factors may exclude one from being eligible for the drug court program. These factors include:
- Conviction of any violent offense as defined by the federal government;
- Felony firearm charges;
- Sex offenders;
- Illegal Alien Status;
- Individuals with any gang affiliation;
- Pending felony charges in other jurisdictions.
Some other factors may exclude certain individuals from being eligible. These include:
- Prior felony convictions;
A severe physical or mental handicap that would prevent program participation, though an appropriate referral must be made.
How does someone get the opportunity to enter into AJC Drug Court?
The Drug Court Program is a non-traditional program for felony offenders addicted to alcohol and/or drugs. An individual must be referred into Drug Court after receiving a felony charge or probation violation (or both), which occurred in the Atlantic Judicial Circuit, which includes the counties of: Liberty, Long, Evans, Bryan, McIntosh, and Tattnall. Once an individual is referred to the AJC Drug Court, the referral process begins which includes their criminal background being reviewed and considered for eligibility, and if found eligible, an alcohol and drug assessment as well as a clinical evaluation will be completed prior to acceptance. The AJC Drug Court team will meet to discuss outcome of assessment and evaluation and make final decision, usually within 30 days of receiving the referral.
Will I have to be drug tested in Drug Court Program? Yes. Participants are drug tested not less than 2 times per week , during the entire 24 months while in the Drug Court program.
Does it cost any money to be in the Drug Court Program? Yes, there are participant fees associated with being in the program which total $2,000 to be paid during the 24 month period. These fees are used by the Court to pay for incentives for participants and other cost related to court expense.
Who are the members of the Drug Court Team?
Superior Court Judge: Honorable D. Jay Stewart
Court Administrator: Glenda M. Harriman
Program Case Manager: Hailey Baxter
Program Assistant: Rebecca Sanders
Treatment Director: Kascey Ifill
Prosecutor/ADA: Alexis Antonucci
Defense Council/PD: Brandon Clark
Law Enforcement: Jon Long, Chief Deputy
State Probation: Sarah McCarthy
How is Drug Court Funded?
AJC Drug Court applies for grant funding each year to pay for treatment cost, personnel cost, transportation cost, and travel expenses related to training of treatment and personnel staff each year. The AJC Drug Court has received funding from the Council of Accountability Court Judges, and Drug Abuse Treatment and Education (DATE) Funds, which are county funds provided by Liberty County, Bryan, Evans, and McIntosh Counties.