Over 30 years ago, women in recovery joined with women from a faith community to create the Alcohol/Drug Abuse Women’s Center as a place where women find new beginnings every day.

I look at drug court as a community coming together to give its members that second chance we all need at some time. In the case of addicts who have become enmeshed in the criminal justice system, the concept of second chance may sound counterintuitive. It is not; there is both solid research and long experience to guide our jurisdiction in making drug court work for both the safety of the community and the rehabilitation of the individual.

Two articles that address the effectiveness of drug courts are: “What Works? The Ten Key Components of Drug Court: Research-Based Best Practices,” by Shannon Carey, Juliette Mackin and Michael Finigan, and “Drug Court Policies and Practices: How Program Implementation Affects Offender Substance Use and Criminal Behavior Outcomes,” by Janine Zweig, Christine Lindquist, P. Mitchell Downey, John K. Roman and Shelli Rossman.

We owe Janis Bane the credit for visionary leadership at the helm of our county’s community supervision department (probation) and her practical wisdom to bring judicial and political factions into alignment five years ago to create drug court in Galveston County.

ADA Women’s Center has worked with other treatment providers to assist drug court participants as they meet the stringent, but non-adversarial requirements, of the process. We commonly assert that it takes a village to truly raise a child. However, one look at the thoughtful collaboration of the court, attorneys, probation officers, treatment providers, employers, counselors and job training personnel and we realize that this concept of shared community responsibility also holds true for adults when we have fallen or lost our way. In supplying the missing pieces needed to build healthy productive lives for those in drug court, we are giving a second chance to this generation and a solid foundation for the next generation.

Knowing this, I ask you to join ADA Women’s Center as we honor Janis Bane at our annual luncheon, The Angels Among Us, on Friday at the Hotel Galvez. For information, call 409-763-5516.

Ellie Hanley is executive director of the ADA Women’s Recovery Center.

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