Treatment Court: providing a new beginning

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Emma Marsing, [email protected]

SWEETWATER COUNTY, WYOMING — Treatment Court of Sweetwater County provides the light at the end of the tunnel for addicts recovering from substance abuse. Tuesday night at the Rock Springs City Council meeting, Augusta Clayton-Davis, Treatment Court Coordinator, spoke to the council about the benefit of Treatment Court and even had two graduates speak about their story and how much they appreciate the experience they had in and outside of Treatment Court.

Treatment Court is a non-profit organization that is funded through grants. They provide services for non-violent offenders and give them the tools they need to fight substance abuse disorder while providing treatment. The Sweetwater County team consists of twelve people. Those twelve people in assistance with the judge help figure out the best interventions for each individual participant.

Clayton-Davis, stated that “75% of Treatment Court participants remain arrest-free compared to only 35% released from state prison.” Someone who participates in Treatment Court instead of state prison can save up to $13,000 per participant as well. Clayton-Davis also explained that they served 38 participants last year while having three babies born drug and alcohol-free.

Treatment Court participants must maintain full-time employment, complete their GED or HiSet, complete financial management courses, health and wellness courses, alternative pain management courses, parenting courses, and more. Participants attend treatment throughout their whole process and curfew checks are done nightly through an app that gives the staff exact GPS coordinates of their location.

Morgan Bauer was the first participant to share her story. Bauer was in treatment court just shy of 2 years. Bauer stated, “They were great staff. They truly saved my life. They did for me what I could not do for myself and saved me from endangering my children.” Bauer admitted that she was very against the program and thought she could do it herself but learned after some time that she had a different outlook on her treatment plan. Bauer also explained, “every member of treatment court never lead me astray or let me go without. They were there to fully support me to get into places to get my health back in order without insurance.” Bauer graduated from Treatment Court in October of 2022 and explained that she still speaks with the staff every day because of how big of an impact they had on her life.

Nathaniel Dulin graduated from Treatment Court on Tuesday and was eager to share his story as well. Dulin spent 22 months in the program and stated, “I didn’t want to do it. After being sentenced to an inpatient program, I thought after that program that I didn’t want to change. I realized that I was only hurting myself.” The program is very strict, but as Dulin put it, “it also made me stable.” Dulin went into explaining that if it weren’t for the schedules and routines he doesn’t think that he would be successful. “They gave me the pathway and the nudge, but it was ultimately me that did the program. Without the way it is designed, I definitely wouldn’t be here.”

Michael Nelson officer for Rock Springs Police Department and Treatment Court Representative has worked in both patrol and investigations. Nelson has seen first-hand the crimes relating to drug investigations. Nelson has stated that through his time both in investigations and working as a representative, he has seen the participants become successful members of society instead of going the route of incarceration. “Treatment Court is not just counseling, it provides life skills to those who may not have been taught those growing up. It provides opportunities, some of which are education, doctors’ appointments, and getting their driver’s licenses. Stuff that seems simple to you and I, but for some of these individuals they have never had that opportunity.” Nelson ended his section of the meeting with a comment that he hopes the City of Rock Springs will continue to support the program.

Last year Treatment Court had 38 participants, with 15 graduates. Currently, right now there are 25 in the program. Clayton-Davis does not have a cap for how many they will take and are looking to expand into different divisions.

Clayton-Davis ended by stating, “The support from the City of Rock Springs changes lives and it is changing our community for the better. We really appreciate the strong support that we get from the City of Rock Springs financially and otherwise. I just feel a really strong support from the community here in Rock Springs.”