The Denver Drug Court will hold a special graduation ceremony on Wednesday, May 18, 2011, to celebrate National Drug Court Month and the twenty-second anniversary of the establishment of drug courts throughout the nation.
Thirty-eight men and women are slated to graduate from the Denver Drug Court program on Wednesday, bringing the total number of 2011 graduates to 102. Last year, 232 people graduated from the program. “Graduation marks a drug court participant’s completion of a 12- to 24-month intensive treatment program that includes probation supervision, in-court review hearings, substantial judicial oversight, and full accountability of the Drug Court participant.”
The ceremony will be held at the Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse, 520 W. Colfax Ave., in the Jury Room, Room 100, at 3 p.m. on Wednesday. Among those scheduled to speak are Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael L. Bender and former governor Bill Ritter.
The Denver Drug Court was originally established in 1994 as one of the first drug courts in the country. In 2007, the Denver Drug Court was redesigned to become more effective. The court is absorbing nearly 40 percent of the criminal filings that would otherwise land on a traditional district court docket, greatly reducing the amount of time the court needs to process a drug case.
National Drug Court Month is coordinated on a national level by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, which was established in 1994 to assist in the planning, implementation and operation of drug courts. What started in a Florida courtroom 22 years ago has become the nation’s most successful strategy for dealing with substance-abusing offenders. The Denver Drug Court graduation is being held in concert with graduations in many of the 2,500 Drug Courts across the country.
Activities and commemorations during National Drug Court Month will center on the theme “Drug Courts: A Proven Budget Solution.”