New treatment courts launch, veterans treatment court honors new graduates
With the addition of two new treatment courts, Johnson County now serves justice-involved individuals through three specialized treatment courts.
A behavioral health court and an adult treatment court launched this November, joining the veterans treatment court in serving individuals’ mental health and substance use disorder needs.
Following the success of the veterans treatment court, which launched in 2016, the Board of County Commissioners approved the two new treatment courts earlier this year. Veterans treatment court was the county’s first treatment court, as well as the first treatment court for veterans in the state of Kansas.
“The treatment court model is the most well-documented and successful intervention for individuals with substance use needs. These two new courts will continue to build on the progress we’ve made in this area,” said District Court Judge Kelly Ryan, who will oversee the adult treatment court.
Veterans treatment court honored new graduates with a ceremony on Nov. 8 at the Johnson County Courthouse. Five graduates were honored:
- Timothy Huber
- Richard Jones
- Robert Jackson
- William Jones
- Patrick Schmit
After Wednesday’s ceremony, a total of 66 veterans have graduated from veterans treatment court in Johnson County. There are currently 11 veterans in the program, with an additional six veterans in the application process.
District Court Judge Timothy McCarthy, who spearheaded the effort to bring this court to the county, presided over the recognition ceremony. Courthouse and county officials were present for the ceremony.
“The veterans treatment court has been a life-changing experience those who have graduated from the program,” said McCarthy. “We’re excited to not only continue offering this court but also start offering the two new courts this fall, which will reach more individuals with mental health and substance use needs.”
The behavioral health court and adult treatment court are beginning treatment programs with their first round of participants, with graduation ceremonies to come.
- The behavioral health court serves individuals in the criminal justice system diagnosed with a mental health disorder and/or co-occurring substance use disorder. It’s the result of efforts by Judge Robert Wonnell and Johnson County Mental Health, which is administering a three-year start-up grant. Community Corrections, the District Attorney’s Office, and private defense counsel were also integral in the creation of the court.
- The adult treatment court provides supervision, evaluation and treatment to individuals who are at high risk to reoffend and need sustained long-term substance abuse treatment. This court is the result of a partnership between District Court, Community Corrections, the District Attorney’s Office, Johnson County Mental Health, the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office and the Public Defender’s Office.