Board funds drug court position


Judge Marjorie Clagett (File Photo)

Prince Frederick, MD  - With a new program that is anticipated to grow and the hope of state funding later this year, the Calvert County Commissioners took the necessary steps to provide funding for a new court position. The board’s votes—to approve the allocation of nearly $75,000 to pay a case manager for Adult Recovery Court and a position grade as recommended by the local circuit court’s administrative judge—took place Tuesday, Aug. 18.

The request by Judge Marjorie Clagett for the new position was made and approved by the board during the panel’s July 21 meeting. The Department of Finance and Budget recommended the commissioners use fund balance money to create the new position.

“Additional funding from the State of Maryland is expected and may be available as soon as October 2015,” stated Department of Finance and Budget Director Tim Hayden in a memo to the board. “If/when that funding is available, we will use that state funding to offset the county contribution.”

“We project that our case manager will handle up to 50 cases,” Clagett stated in a memo to the commissioners.

Clagett explained the drug court program in Calvert is expected to have 30 people enrolled by the end of August.

“Our program can soar,” said Clagett. “I think we’re going to be a role model for the state. It’s a rigorous program. It’s not easy.”

Clagett attributed to the drug court program’s encouraging start to the work of program coordinator Molly Owens and partnerships with organizations like Farming 4 Hunger.

During a presentation about the court back in July, Clagett cited information from the Conference of Chief Justices that stated “drug courts are the most cost-effective and successful reform in our lifetime. Drug courts reduce substance abuse and crime more effectively and at less expense than any other justice strategy.”

Of the 63 referrals who were originally screened, less than half were accepted. All participants are in drug treatment programs, working or in school. The program participants are expected to complete 24 hours of volunteer work.

Despite the fiscal impact creation of the new position has, the commissioners agreed Calvert County, which has significant numbers of opiate/opioid arrests, overdoes and deaths due to drugs, needed the adult treatment court program.

“I think it’s important for the future,” declared Commissioner Pat Nutter [R - District 2].

“We don’t have a lot of money but this could be money well spent,” Commissioner Tom Hejl [R - At large] stated.

Prior to finalizing the budget adjustment and pay grade for the new case manager’s position, Commissioner Mike Hart [R - District 1] revealed that he has received correspondence from the mother of local drug addict. The woman indicated to Hart that the establishment of the court program gives her child hope in fighting the addiction.

Nutter remarked that was evidence that the new program was already demonstrating benefits.

For more information on Calvert’s Adult Recovery Program call 410-535-1600, ext. 2262.

Contact Marty Madden at

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