Pubdate: Mon, 17 Mar 2003
Source: Post and Courier, The (Charleston, SC)
Copyright: 2003 Evening Post Publishing Co.
Author: Joseph Benton


The Charleston County Drug Court program helped restore our son to the 
family. We were totally lost about what to do next and how to help him 
regain control. Luckily, for us, our son was ordered to Drug Court.

Drug Court is a blessing in disguise. What looked, to my son, to be a 
little like damnation, turned out to be his salvation. Drug Court 
emphasizes personal responsibility, education , staying drug-free, and 
participating in positive activities. The program gathers all the people, 
agencies and institutions involved with the child and rallies them for the 
same cause, to get the individual back on track. Family, school counselor, 
employer, probation officer and any other involved agencies all work 
together to support and encourage the child to be his best.

These parties report the child's successes and failures to Drug Court on a 
scheduled basis (weekly, at the beginning of the program, to monthly, as 
the child progresses through the program.) The Drug Court judges hear and 
review these reports. They cheer for successes, offer encouragement for 
effort and administer immediate consequences and alternatives for 
misbehavior. Consequences include, but are not limited to, detention, 
community service, research papers, extra chores, repeating phases of the 
program, house arrest, loss of privileges and curfew restriction. Drug 
Court, working with our counselor, has helped us, as parents, set rules and 
expectations for our son and has helped us enforce those rules.

We are very grateful to Judge Segars-Andrews, who started the Drug Court 
program in Charleston and is dedicated to its success. She and Judge 
Jocelyn Cates donate their time and energy to help make this program a 
success and are exploring ways of making it even better. Special thanks go 
to Julius Scott, the coordinator of the program. Mr. Scott is always 
accessible, encouraging and amazingly efficient. He knows every child's 
name, their school, their parents and how they're progressing in the 
program. Mr. Scott lets these young people know what they are capable of 
achieving and holds them accountable. Another valuable member of the group 
is Alan Kilpatrick, Drug Court chaplain.

The Drug Court program should have community support and recognition. This 
very dedicated group of special people is providing life-changing 
alternatives for many misguided and confused young people, and it is being 
done in a positive, caring and cost-effective way.


Sullivan Island
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