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Jackson Recovery Court Celebrates 20 years



Today the city of Jackson Recovery Court celebrated 20 years of helping those with drug addictions.

“Judge Anderson saw a need in the community and knew that there was a problem with people coming in and out of jail and having a substance use disorder and never really receiving the help they needed and being rearrested time and time again," said Haley Coble the Director of Jackson's Recovery Court.

Judge Anderson saw other cities that had a Drug Court Program and worked to create one in Jackson.

Participants in the program undergo treatment classes, counseling, drug testing, and weekly reviews with the judge in place of a jail senate.

Coble said, “We know that just incarceration alone does not actually help solve the problem for those with substance use disorders in the criminal justice system, they need treatment. They need help, accountability, support and supervision to really deal with those underlying issues.”

At today's luncheon the court celebrated 20 years, recognized current participants, graduates and staff.

Austin Blankenship is a current participant in the Drug Court program. He started using drugs and alcohol in high school which eventually led to using heavily in college, “I come back to Jackson and then kind of fell into a pretty deep hole for the next probably seven or eight years. Just like I said earlier in my speech, I kind of woke up every morning kind of hoping I wasn't going to have to go through it again," Blankenship said.

Austin had been through dozens of programs but none of them worked, but then Recovery Court stepped in when Austin was facing DUI and drug possession charges. “Life has completely taken a 180 for me before recovery court. Of course, I was in some very dark spots… and now that I've gotten into recovery court, I wake up every day happy to be alive. Thankful to be alive. I'm married. Just celebrated one year with my wife," Said Blackenship.

Blankenship says he has found his calling in life through the program, "I have started working at a juvenile detention center called Natchez Trace Youth Academy. So I work with kids that come from similar situations as me. So being able to be there for them and kind of show them that, hey, you know, you can go through everything you've went through and still come out on the other side.“

Blankenship is one of the many success stories over the last 20 years of drug court in Jackson.

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