, General News

North Carolina's 8th Judicial District Receives Federal Funding to Create Adult Recovery Court

The funding will allow the Accountability and Recovery Court to expand its life-saving work.

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North Carolina's 8th Judicial District , serving Greene, Lenoir and Wayne counties, has been awarded a $700,000 grant by the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) to create and operate an Adult Accountability and Recovery Court. The new court will serve persons suffering from a substance use disorder who have related criminal charges as a result. Eligible persons will be given the opportunity to participate in treatment and supportive recovery services in lieu of incarceration. 

From 2020 to 2022, over 28,000 North Carolinians lost their lives to drug overdose. The National Association of Drug Court Professionals has documented that recovery courts have been proven to save lives, reunite families, save money, and reduce crime. Communities with a recovery court see an average of a 58% reduction in recidivism and an average savings to the community of $6,000 per participant. 

“Recovery courts have the unique opportunity to unite the accountability aspect of the justice system, treatment and community resources,” said Chief District Court Judge Beth Heath. “Individuals with substance use disorder are more likely to sustain recovery when their legal issues have been addressed, they have engaged in treatment, and they have built recovery capital, including such things as housing, employment, transportation and education.”

Recovery courts are not new to the 8th Judicial District which has successfully administered a Family Accountability and Recovery Court for the past 17 years. This particular recovery court was established to serve families involved with child protective services who have substance use disorders. The court has received national recognition as a rural innovative site by the National Rural Justice Collaborative.

In 2021, Wayne County received a legislative grant to begin the process of establishing a new adult recovery court. The legislative funds have allowed a team to prepare for establishing the court by participating in a year-long training program through the National Drug Court Institute and the National Association of Drug Court Professionals.

The BJA grant will support the operation of the new recovery court and allow it to expand district-wide to all three counties.

The Adult Accountability and Recovery Court will begin accepting referrals on December 1. For more information on eligibility or becoming a part of this court, call 919-722-6251.