- Executive Office of the Trial Court
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Media Contact for Court and State Leaders Attend Chelsea Drug Court Graduation and Certification Ceremony
Jennifer Donahue and Erika Gully-Santiago
BOSTON, MA — At a ceremony today at Chelsea District Court, Supreme Judicial Court Justice David A. Lowy, Trial Court Chief Justice Paula M. Carey, Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary State Representative Claire D. Cronin, District Court Chief Justice Paul C. Dawley, Chelsea District Court First Justice Matthew J. Machera and many others gathered to recognize seven drug court graduates and the official certification of the drug court.
Chelsea Drug Court graduates and their families and friends, court employees and professionals from agencies and partner organizations who participate in drug court gathered in a courtroom for the ceremony where the Chelsea Drug Court was also recognized for achieving certification. The certification process ensures that the specialty court sessions operate with fidelity to the drug court model in order to maximize positive outcomes for participants. Staff members of the Trial Court’s Center of Excellence for Specialty Courts at UMass Medical School work with each drug court team to help them prepare for the rigorous certification process. The Certification Team consists of a retired judge with experience in drug courts, an experienced drug court probation officer, and a specialty court clinician who works in existing drug courts.
Speakers included SJC Justice Lowy; Chief Justice Carey; First Justice Machera; Chief Probation Officer Carmen Z. Gomez, Ph.D; and recovery counselor and former Chelsea Drug Court graduate Christopher Bonsall. Clerk Magistrate Edward F. O'Neill III served as Master of Ceremonies. First Justice Machera and Probation Officer Erin Hudd presented awards and certificates to the graduates.
"Seventeen years ago, I presided over my first drug court graduation in the Lynn District Court. It was a great day - my best day in my more than 20 years as a judge. Why? I saw in those drug court graduates that they felt that they could reclaim their own lives, that they knew that they needed to be their own heroes, and that they could become the parents, the partners, and the productive members of society that they so desperately wanted to become," said Supreme Judicial Court Justice Lowy. "I am so proud and happy to be here today to share in your success and bear witness to the grace, discipline, and courage you have demonstrated."
"I have two honors today – to celebrate the seven graduates who are here today and to announce the certification of the Chelsea Drug Court. To the graduates: you are the reason we have programs like this. We want you to succeed, to be healthy and to live the best lives you can. You have had challenges in your lives, and we have given you some tools that we hope you can use when you encounter challenges going forward," said Trial Court Chief Justice Carey. "The Chelsea Drug Court demonstrated, without any doubt, that it follows the Drug Court model and the best practices standards for drug courts. It is a stellar drug court program and that is demonstrated in the participants who are graduating today."
Drug courts provide intensive, supervised probation and mandatory treatment, as well as random drug testing with progress monitored by a supervising probation officer. The court works with treatment providers, which provide clinical assessments, develop and monitor treatment placements, and identify ancillary counseling, case management and outreach services. The Massachusetts Trial Court currently has 26 adult drug courts that operate in courthouses throughout the state.
Drug court certification standards are adapted from the Ten Key Components for Drug Courts developed by the Department of Justice in collaboration with the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP). The standards are posted online at the Center of Excellence for Specialty Courts’ website: www.macoe.org/resources/manuals.