For immediate release: May 3, 2021
The Gallatin County Commission has proclaimed the month of May as Drug Court Month in Gallatin County in hopes of bringing awareness to and honoring a local program that has transformed the lives of our citizens.
See the full proclamation here.
Started in 1999, Gallatin County Treatment Court is an 18-month voluntary program that is an alternative sentencing for adult offenders whose crimes were motivated by substance abuse.
Participants receive treatment for chemical dependency and mental health issues. Among a number of things, participants are required to attend addictions counseling, mental health therapy and support groups, as well as submit to frequent drug and alcohol testing, report weekly to a case manager and perform community service.
The five core values of Treatment Court are honesty, integrity, responsibility, sobriety and service.
Since the program started, 189 people have graduated from Gallatin County Treatment Court. There are currently 20 participants, with 23 more applicants pending.
“Drug Treatment Court is one of the things that I think the county can be most proud of in the last 23 years,” said Commissioner Joe Skinner. “That’s 189 people who have been able to turn their lives around, not just for them but for their spouses, their children, their parents, their friends, and become very productive citizens in the community.”
“The cumulative effects on our community are immeasurable,” said Commission Chairman Scott MacFarlane. “It’s obviously a critical component and jewel of our community and makes our community what it is. One of those things that might go unnoticed a lot of the time, but here’s our opportunity to recognize it.”
Commissioner Zach Brown applauded the county for providing funding to this Treatment Court from the beginning of the program.
“It’s something that I feel a lot of gratitude and pride for this community, that we choose to invest in these folks’ lives, and a model that can be really powerful and transformative,” Brown said. “Thank you to everyone involved.”
The program is managed by a team that includes:
- Judge John Brown, Gallatin County District Court
- Steve Ette, Director of Court Services
- Eric Kitzmiller, Chief Deputy with Gallatin County Attorney’s Office
- Kirsten Mull-Core, Attorney
- Dr. Jim Murphey, Psychologist
- Vicki Deboer, Clinical Supervisor with Alcohol and Drug Services of Gallatin County
- Jared Poole, Probation and Parole Officer for Montana Department of Corrections
- Andrea Lower, Treatment Court Coordinator
- Kelley Parker-Wathne, Assistant Treatment Court Coordinator
Steve Ette, Director of Gallatin County Court Services