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Clay County drug court graduates two

 (L-R) Public Defender Matt Shirk, Judge Timothy Collins, graduates Adam, Lauren and Assistant Public Defender for Fourth Circuit Diversionary Courts Richard Gordon.

(L-R) Public Defender Matt Shirk, Judge Timothy Collins, graduates Adam, Lauren and Assistant Public Defender for Fourth Circuit Diversionary Courts Richard Gordon.


Public Defender Matt Shirk joined with several drug court clients, friends and family members in congratulating Clay County’s two newest graduates of the county’s drug court program.

Lauren and Adam (last names withheld) went before Clay County Court Judge Timothy Collins one final time Dec. 20 to receive State certification of their completion of the year-long treatment program.  Their graduation, which followed the regular Thursday morning

Drug Court hearings of 14 current clients, included recognition from the judge and an opportunity for each graduate to address the near capacity courtroom.

The ceremony was followed by a reception organized by Judge Collins to encourage interaction among Drug Court clients and the State and County officials who fund and oversee the rehabilitation system.

Shirk said prison alternatives like drug court benefit both the clients and the State.

“We continue fighting to ensure these valuable rehabilitative options like drug court are available to our clients,” he said. “Jails in

Florida are full and it is very costly to taxpayers to maintain the capacity levels we are seeing.  When a non-violent offender who is open to seeking the proven rehabilitation gained through the existing Drug Court program, we want our client to have that option if they qualify.  It is dramatically less expensive to taxpayers and has proven to be much more effective in the long run.  Drug Court graduates re-offend less than 10% of the time while those who are incarcerated are 40% more likely to face new drug charges after their release.  My sincerest congratulations to Lauren and Adam and I wish the both of them the very best in this new chapter of their lives.

They will continue to serve as inspiration to PD clients who find themselves battling drug addictions.”

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