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.


Matthew Todd, M.D., Joins Parkridge Diagnostic Center

Parkridge Health System welcomes primary care physician Matthew J. Todd, M.D., to Parkridge Medical Group’s Diagnostic Center and back to Chattanooga.  Dr. Todd joins an ever-expanding team of physicians and providers and adds additional capacity and access for patients seeking a primary health care provider.   Dr. Todd most recently served with the Southeast Georgia ... (click for more)

Morning Pointe Residents Throw Party For Community Kitchen

Children, families, and residents at The Lantern at Morning Pointe Alzheimer's Center of Excellence, Collegedale, had a ball at the "Spring Fling" party at the Chattanooga Community Kitchen's Family Housing and Learning Center (FHLC).   Local kids at the FHLC enjoyed pizza, cupcakes and ice cream on the last day of Spring Break, courtesy of the memory care community which ... (click for more)

State Says "Beef" Between 2 Bloods Gangs Started Over A Female And Led Eventually To Shootings At College Hill Courts

The state presented testimony on Monday about a feud between two Bloods gangs that allegedly eventually led to a 16-year-old shooting up a unit at College Hill Courts - killing one woman, injuring another, leaving a child paralyzed and injuring a member of the other Bloods gang. A city police gang expert said the bitter rift between the Athens Park Bloods based on the Southside ... (click for more)

Walker County To Raise Water, Sewer Rates To Improve Aging Infrastructure

 The board of directors for the Walker County Water & Sewerage Authority (WCWSA) has granted approval for the utility to move forward with a base rate increase to address aging infrastructure concerns.   Starting this summer, WCWSA will begin replacing older galvanized pipe. These older water mains will be upgraded from two-inch galvanized pipe to six-inch high-pressure ... (click for more)

Slaxxon Regret - And Response

Back in the seventies my three oldest brothers had a buddy named Steve Slack. “Slack” was a star soccer player at Baylor and he grew up on Lookout Mountain, which is where I grew up. He and Jimmy, Henry and Bill went to the University of Virginia where they were roommates in an old, beat up house that was painted pink. Naturally, the place became known as the “Pink Palace” but lest ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Oh Yes, I Loved West

One of my most beloved friends died early Saturday morning at the age of 67. Then again, West Oehmig’s only brother – King – died a couple of years ago at 63 so it wasn’t by happenstance I remembered Abraham Lincoln’s famous line: “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years.” Here are two brothers who lived larger than any other pair I can ... (click for more)