Nation’s First State-Wide Residential Recovery Court Set To Open In Northeast Tennessee

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) and the Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) are opening the first state-wide residential Recovery Court in the nation, effective Aug. 1.

The court is located in the Morgan County city of Wartburg, which is about 45 miles west of Knoxville.

A special Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony will be at 10:30 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, July 30, at 541 Wayne Cotton Morgan Drive, Wartburg, Tennessee 37887. Among those scheduled to be in attendance are Governor Bill Haslam, State Senator Ken Yager of Harriman, State Representative John Mark Windle of Livingston, and many others. 

The 100-bed program has been established to allow the state to divert people in need of substance abuse treatment or mental health services from hard prison beds to effective treatment programs that are evidence-based and proven to have a larger impact on reducing recidivism. It will also allow for prison beds to be reserved for those violent offenders who are in most need of them. 

This Recovery Court is different from the other Drug Courts and Recovery Courts currently in operation in that this one is more intensive than the current program and offers services on a 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week basis. It will be operated by the Davidson County Drug Court Support Foundation, a private foundation. 

The Recovery Court will cost much less per person than an average prison: While prison costs an average of $65 per prisoner per day, the Recovery Court will cost an average of $35 per person per day. 

“While incarceration is expensive, this isn’t just about saving dollars,” says TDMHSAS Commissioner Douglas Varney. “It is about doing what is best for public safety.” 

Nationally, people who participate in evidence-based community programs that meet their needs recidivate at about one-third the rate of people who don’t. Alternative sentencing should be reserved for those offenders that are most in need. Drug offenders have been proven to have success in drug court programs that effectively address their needs. 

“This program should not be considered being soft on crime,” says TDOC Commissioner Derek Schofield. “What it says is that we’re going to place people in the best option to ensure they don’t re-offend. But also, we’re going to make sure we have a prison bed available for people who commit violent offenses that harm our communities.” 

TDMHSAS and TDOC are working on this project in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, the Tennessee Department of Health, and the Davidson County Drug Court.


Heartland Ranch To Fund Interactive Arcade At Orange Grove Center

Orange Grove Center, Heartland Ranch and UTC Department of Health Promotion and Human Performance announce the grand opening of the Heartland Arcade at Orange Grove Center, Isidore Tyber Building,  2325 Shady Ln.  on Friday from 10:30-11:30 a.m. Funded by the Heartland Ranch, the arcade will provide interactive kinetic video and arcade gaming opportunities for individuals ... (click for more)

'Cops For A Cause' In Support Of 2nd Annual Chattanooga Autism Awareness Walk

The 2nd Annual Chattanooga Autism Awareness Walk will take place on Saturday, Nov. 8 at Coolidge Park with a starting time of 10:45 a.m.,  with children’s activities available starting at 8 a.m. The route for the 2 miles total walk will start at Coolidge Park and continue over the pedestrian bridge, around the art district and then back to Coolidge Park. For this ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Area Under Hard Freeze Warning As Winter Comes Early

The Chattanooga area was under a freeze warning as winter rushed in early. The biting weather came as crew members were about to hit the water for the annual Head of the Hooch at Ross's Landing. Here is the warning: ...FREEZE WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 3 AM EST /2 AM CST/ TO 9 AM EST /8 AM CST/ SUNDAY ... THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN MORRISTOWN HAS ISSUED ... (click for more)

Downtown Chattanooga Apartment Complex That Brought $3 Million Profit Exempt From Most Taxes Until 2022 Under PILOT

A downtown Chattanooga apartment complex that recently was sold at a $3 million profit is exempt from most property taxes through 2022 under a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) agreement.   No payment of school taxes was included in the deal for Walnut Commons at Walnut Street and Aquarium Way.   The only taxes due on the property for the next eight ... (click for more)

Time To Fix The TIFs

What if Chattanooga policy makers and taxpayers used several recent business announcements as a wakeup call to learn more about how our community decides what companies get property tax breaks? If enough people accept this assignment, it just might result in the adoption of some sound policies and procedures to guide us in the future. We read in the newspapers this week that ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Garden In November

As the first day of November arrives today, it is cold enough in my garden to officially certify that fall has fell! There are even signs of ice on the ground but there is a bounty crop of acorns so, in keeping with our monthly tradition, some will get shiny acorns and others will get a chunk of cold ice: A SHINY ACORN for Patriots football coach Bill Belichick for scoffing at ... (click for more)