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Brunswick County specialty courts receive $200,000 grant

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By Sam Hickman

 Superior Court Judge Ola M. Lewis recently announced the Brunswick County Drug Treatment Program has been awarded a $200,000 grant by the Department of Justice.

The Bureau of Justice Assistance awarded the Brunswick County Drug Treatment Program with the grant Sept. 6. The budget period is to begin Oct. 1, 2013, and end Sept. 30, 2015.

“This is a true expansion grant,” Lewis said. “This will have an incredible impact on our community. We can offer more services now, and we’re very proud of that.”

The purpose of the Adult Drug Court Grant Program is to provide financial and technical assistance to local courts for the development and integration of effective, evidenced-based substance abuse treatment. The funds will be used to enhance existing treatment court operations, expand treatment court services, and improve the quality of participant services. Additionally, funds will be used to provide educational, vocational, and job training services to the Drug Treatment Court participants.

Dr. Carrie S. Menke, Brunswick County’s mental health court coordinator, personally wrote the grant proposal.

“Most organizations have a team of grant writers,” Lewis said. “Dr. Menke is worth her weight in gold. I’m elated she’s with us.”

Lewis said Brunswick County’s specialty courts have been highly successful and on par with other such courts across the nation.

“None of this would be possible if we didn’t have a highly qualified treatment team,” Lewis said of the probation officers, members of the district attorney’s office, members of the bar and area treatment providers. “It is the dedication and hard work of these individuals that makes our courts successful.”

Since Lewis became a senior resident judge in 2006, Brunswick County Superior Courts have received $600,000 in grants.

The specialty courts program had to receive permission from Brunswick County commissioners to write the grant, Lewis said.

“I’m very grateful to the county commissioners for lending their support,” said Lewis, who also credited Brunswick County Sheriff John Ingram and Superior Court Clerk Jim MacCallum with their continued support for the specialty courts system. “Without support from all of these individuals, this wouldn’t be possible.”

 

Sam Hickman is a staff writer for the Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or shickman@brunswickbeacon.com.