Drug Court Gives Offenders Chance to Reclaim Their Lives
The Emery County Drug Court gives an opportunity for those facing drug related offenses a chance to get their lives back on track. After two years in operation, six people have graduated from the program and 15 more are currently enrolled.
"Our job is always negative because we have to deal with people when they're in trouble," said Sheriff Lamar Guymon. "But with the Drug Court we can help you get your life back on track."
The only Drug Court on this side of the Uintah Basin, Sheriff Guymon said the Emery County program is unique because it is the only drug court in the state that does both adult and juvenile cases.
Deputy Jeremiah Johnson is the Drug Court officer and as such he keeps constant track of those enrolled in the yearlong program. To be in Drug Court individuals have to be charged with a substance abuse incident. Once enrolled those in Drug Court are required to attend classes every night at Four Corners Mental Health, either alcohol anonymous classes or narcotics anonymous classes or a variety of substance abuse classes that are offered at Four Corners.
"We try to take up their idle time," Johnson said. "We're trying to help them get a life-style change."
In Drug Court Johnson acts as the parole officer, which gives him leeway to check in on individuals anytime, day or night. Adults in the program must have a full time job or be enrolled in college full time. Juveniles have to maintain a 2.5 GPA, or, if not in school, they must obtain their general education diploma. Once in Drug Court individuals must call every morning and find out if they are on the list to come in for a urinalysis test. Typically subjects are tested three to seven times a week and they never know when they might be tested.
"Unlike other programs we give them an excuse to succeed, not an excuse to fail. In the beginning Jeremiah is their enemy because he haunts them and has the ability to put them in jail if they get into trouble. At the end of the program he is their friend because he has helped them straighten out their lives," Sheriff Guymon said.
The sheriff said that the programs and assistance of Four Corners is instrumental to the program's success. "One of the key elements is Emery Jones and the staff of Four Corners."
The first six months after graduating from Drug Court are critical for those who have gone through the program. According to Johnson if graduates have any problems during the first six months after graduating then their experience was not considered a success. Of the six who have graduated Sheriff Guymon said they have had no problem with any of them.
According to the sheriff among the first people who entered Drug Court were two young people who desperately needed help getting their life in order. "They were two kids who were going nowhere. They went through the program, cleaned up their life and are doing very well. The more of these kind of programs we can do the better we can help deal with the drug problem," Sheriff Guymon said.