Judge honored at ATC ceremony


– Photos by John Meiu


PHOTO #1: On Wednesday, Oct. 5, the Oakland County Adult Treatment Court (ATC) held its 48th graduation since its inception in August of 2001. The 224th through the 232nd graduates were honored with a ceremony and reception in the Oakland County Commissioners Auditorium in Pontiac.   Also during the ceremony, Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Joan Young (center) was honored for her service to the ATC.  Young will be retiring at the end of 2016 after serving as the ATC judge since 2002.  Happy to honor Young during the ceremony were (left to right) Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Shalina Kumar and Oakland County Court Administrator Kevin Oeffner.  “Judge Young has been an outstanding leader in the Adult Treatment Court and dedicated so much of her time to helping those suffering from addiction which so often leads them to commit criminal acts,” stated Kumar, who oversees the female participants of the ATC.  “She has been an exceptional colleague and will be greatly missed.  We wish Judge Young a very enjoyable retirement.”  Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Hala Jarbou will take over Young’s ATC caseload.

PHOTO #2: Judge Young (far left) and Judge Kumar (far right) congratulated the latest nine ATC graduates.  The ATC, which has served 652 participants to date, is a four-phase intervention program for non-violent, felony offenders who find it difficult to maintain sobriety.  Without acceptance into the ATC program, these individuals would otherwise be facing a probable sentence of months, if not years, in jail or prison.  The program’s key elements are: extremely close judicial and community supervision, intense substance-abuse treatment, frequent substance-abuse testing, and a long-term commitment to program requirements. In addition, the participants are expected to find and maintain employment, consistently participate in treatment, pay court costs, including restitution to the victims of their crimes, and, of course, take responsibility for the support of their children.  Furthermore, if participants are not employed, they are expected to perform a minimum of 20 hours of weekly community service. Some of the participants have found permanent employment as a direct result of their service to local non-profits. All nine graduates were unemployed when they entered the program. Currently, eight have full-time employment and the ninth is completing 40 hours of community service each week. Additionally, the nine graduates have 2,532 combined sobriety days and 6,319 treatment hours, evidence that the program not only engages but maintains the participants in treatment and the recovery process.