Officials: Court referral has big impact here

Published 10:10 am Friday, August 9, 2013

It’s not a program that’s widely talked about in the general public, but it’s one that impacts many families and individuals in the tri-county area.
The Crenshaw, Butler and Lowndes Court Referral Program is full of resources and helps reduce alcohol and drug-related crimes, said Court Referral Officer Timothy Kemp.
Kemp, who has spent the last eight months working in the program, said he’s seen roughly 150 people in the three-county area in the last year.
But, he’s not seeing repeat offenders, he said.
“I’m not seeing the same people over and over again,” he said. “I think the program’s working. I’ve only been doing this for eight months, but I’ve seen new people versus the same people.”
Kemp said his primary clients are middle-aged men, ages 40-50, but it’s balanced in terms of racial demographics.
Depending on the offense and needs of the client, there are three levels of educational program, Kemp said.
The Level 1 program is a minimum 12-hour presentation, which includes an orientation to the court referral program, substance abuse, laws-consequences, alcohol and other drugs and their effects, and looking ahead components. This class is designed for those defendants who are assessed by Kemp and determined not to have a substance abuse program.
The Level 2 component is a minimum 24-hour interactional program, which relies heavily on defendant participation. This course is designed for those defendants determined to have a problem and presumed to have a problem with alcohol or other drugs of abuse. Participants must also participate in four self-help meetings prior to the last session. Such as AA or NA. Participants cover all the educational material in Level 1, as well as, patterns of use, family and support systems and coping skills.
Level 3 is referral to treatment. The majority of these clients are sent to a community mental health center for full assessment. Defendants are then referred to inpatient treatment or intensive outpatient programs.
In addition, there is a youth and juvenile education curriculum, which is a 12-hour program for people under 21.
Kemp said another good thing about the program is that clients pay their ways through the program. The level of education needed determines costs.
“It doesn’t create a burden on the state,” he said. “This is an excellent program to habilitate people.”
In Lowndes County, there is a need for NA/AA classes, Kemp said.
“We don’t want to create a burden for people who don’t have driver’s licenses,” he said. “If anyone is willing to give spaces for meetings, it would be greatly appreciated.”
For more information, call Kemp at 334-403-8465.

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