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Lancaster County Adult Drug Court Celebrates Graduation of Eleven Participants

Governor Ricketts and Supporters from around the World attend Lancaster County Adult Drug Court Graduation

The Lancaster County Adult Drug Court celebrated online graduations in Lincoln on the evening of January 25, 2021. For the 11 graduates, the ceremony marks the completion of an intensive program of comprehensive behavioral health treatment, intensive community supervision, and full accountability. Presiding Adult Drug Court Judge Jodi Nelson (pictured) hosted the ceremony with Judge Andrew Jacobsen. Several distinguished guests, including Governor Pete Ricketts, attended. Through online recovery support meetings, Nebraska Problem-Solving Court participants have connected with others in recovery from around the world. The virtual graduation allowed several individuals worldwide to attend the Lancaster County Adult Drug Court Graduation and show support for the graduates.

Nebraska Problem-Solving Courts have utilized technology to continue to provide services and support to participants during the pandemic. Online support meetings are one way participants have been able to receive support and complete program requirements while remaining safe and socially distanced through technology. 

Speaking to graduation guests, Nelson noted, “Their ages range from 23 to 58 (average age is 37); they all are high school graduates, or have or nearly have, their GED. One is a college graduate, and three others have some college. They all are employed and do volunteer work. Among them, they have 23 children and five grandchildren.” She continued, “In addition to being sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, parents, grandparents, and significant others, the graduates are also responsible and productive contributors to our community and society. With respect to being responsible and productive, you’ll be interested to know that during their time in drug court, these graduates have paid a combined total of $17,309 in Drug Court fees.”

The January graduation is the last for Nelson, who is returning to her regular caseload with the Lancaster County District Court. Nelson, who has served as a drug court judge for the past eight years, will end her term in February. In saying her farewells to the drug court graduates, Nelson remarked, “Serving as a drug court judge has been the most rewarding part of my job as a judge. I will miss drug court. I will miss working with this outstanding team of professionals, and mostly, I will miss the participants. You are amazing people who inspire me.”  

Adult drug and problem-solving courts are an alternate route through the criminal justice system for nonviolent drug-related offenders. Drug courts utilize a specialized team process that functions within the existing state trial court structure. All problem-solving courts are designed to reduce recidivism and substance use among individuals with substance use disorders. The court’s goal is to protect public safety and increase the participant’s likelihood of successful rehabilitation by utilizing validated risk and need assessments, early and individualized behavioral health treatment, frequent and random chemical testing, incentives, sanctions, and other rehabilitative and ancillary services.

For additional information, please contact: Landon Parks, Program Manager for Lancaster County Community Corrections, (402)441-8122