Henrico drug court reaches milestone with 200th graduate, 43rd graduation ceremony set for May 18

The Henrico County Adult Drug Treatment Court will celebrate a milestone at its graduation Friday, May 18 by recognizing that more than 200 individuals have successfully completed the program since 2003.

The court’s 43rd graduation will be held at 1 p.m. in Courtroom 3 of the Henrico Circuit Court, in the Henrico Courts Building, 4301 E. Parham Road. Speakers will include W. Brandon Hinton, deputy county manager for administration, and Brittney Welsch, a 2017 drug court graduate who now works as a peer recovery specialist for Henrico Area Mental Health & Developmental Services.

Henrico established the Adult Drug Treatment Court after Circuit judges began looking for ways to break the cycle of individuals with alcohol and drug problems reappearing before the court. Since its first docket on Jan. 24, 2003, the drug court has served 606 participants. The 10 individuals scheduled to graduate May 18 will bring the total number of graduates to 206.

Participation in Henrico’s drug court is voluntary and must be approved by the commonwealth’s attorney. The program provides intensive treatment, close supervision and counseling for at least 12 months, allowing participants to address their addictions, secure jobs, care for family members and satisfy court-ordered financial obligations.

Individuals who have completed a drug court program are less likely to reoffend than someone who has served through the traditional criminal justice system, according to a 2012 report by the National Center for State Courts. The study also found that the average annual cost for a drug court participant ranges from $7,485 to $14,615 — far less than $29,678 annual cost of incarcerating an adult offender in a local jail.

Note: Members of the news media are welcome to attend and cover the drug court graduation. Please understand the ceremony is part of a court proceeding and courtroom decorum is expected. Cameras and other recording devices are not permitted in the Henrico Courts Building. If you are interested in covering the graduation, please contact Gary A. Hughes, director of the Community Corrections Program, by calling (804) 501-5180 or by sending an email to hug110@henrico.us.