Drug and Mental Health Accountability Courts

Superior Court of Fulton County
Accountability Court / Hope Hall
1135-A Jefferson Street, N.W.
Atlanta, Georgia 30318
(404) 612-2400

 
 

Honorable Judge
Doris D. Downs

Honorable Judge
Bensonetta Tipton Lane

Honorable Judge
Todd Markle

Director
M. Lee Brooks

Deputy Director
Ta'Nesha Morris




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Over the course of the past two decades, drug courts have evolved into an accepted alternative sentencing method and have morphed into accountability courts to address various aspects of the criminal justice system. While the foundation has remained constant, empirical research has allowed practitioners to identify specifics that have resulted in positive outcomes. The Fulton County Accountability Courts have embraced the benchmarks established for accountability courts and have committed the program to the principles established as best practices in the industry.

The past twenty years has created a great deal of research and statistical data from which best practices have been identified. This research has identified six consistent findings for drug courts (Blenko 1998, 2001) that are embodied in the Fulton County Accountability Courts’ philosophy and practices. They are identified as:

  1. Drug courts are successful in engaging and retaining offenders in treatment,

  2. Drug courts provide more comprehensive supervision of offenders,

  3. Drug use is reduced for offenders, who participate in drug court,

  4. Criminal recidivism is reduced for offenders,

  5. Drug courts can generate cost savings, and

  6. Drug courts can successfully bridge the gap between multiple publicly funded systems.
It is clear, based on the research; drug courts reduce criminal recidivism, lower cost to the community, reduce drug use, and contribute to the quality of life for those served by the courts.

While the Fulton County Accountability Courts have enjoyed great success since its inception in 1996, there is opportunity for growth, greater efficiency, and a rededication to best practices. The coming year will see a comprehensive review of the court and its management, but more importantly, an examination of the existing culture will be examined. It is the belief of the team that there is more to achieve, greater fulfillment of our mission to be gained, and a deeper sense of commitment to the community to be accomplished by examining the core of the existence of the program. While the team is excited about the direction of the program, we are reminded of the quote from Sir Winston Churchill, “Success if not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” The Fulton County Accountability Courts will not rest on its laurels, will not be afraid to fail, nor will we shrink from our mission. Sir Churchill also stated, "Never give in, never give in, never, never, never – in nothing, great or small, large, or petty – never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense."

Mission Statement

The mission of the Fulton County Accountability Court is to provide a court supervised alternative sentencing program to those offenders who suffer substance abuse issues. Furthermore, the court will reduce recidivism, crime occurrence, reduce the cost to the community, and improve the quality of life for those participating. The court is committed to returning participants to the community as model citizens.

Purpose Statement

The Fulton County Accountability Court takes in those people who have been marginalized by the criminal justice system, restores self-worth, changes the thought process, and provides a second opportunity to lead a productive life through a court supervised, alternative treatment program.

Values Statement

The Fulton County Accountability Court’s core values are embodied in the acronym as follows:

H    Honesty in our spoken words and actions,

O    Open and transparent in our practices,

P    Professional in our business and personal lives,

E    Ethical in our behavior.