Indiana drug, veteran courts get new digs

By LISA TRIGG | The (Terre Haute, Ind.) Tribune-Star | Published: February 11, 2019

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (Tribune News Service) — Expanding service has prompted a move for the administrative offices of both the Vigo County Drug Court and Veterans Court programs.

Currently housed in the Vigo County Courthouse, starting next week, the offices will be moving to 653 Ohio St.

The new location on the building’s second floor has 2,500 square feet and enough space for individual offices where confidential appointments can be conducted, said Mallory Pugh, the drug court case manager.

Drug court received a $1 million grant last year that calls for one new case manager to be added per year for the next five years.

“Our current office space in the courthouse is barely big enough for what we do now,” Pugh said. “It certainly isn’t large enough to add five case managers, and there was no other open space in the courthouse where we could move.”

The drug court program runs through Vigo Superior Court 5, and allows people facing substance abuse charges to participate. Those who successfully complete the 18-month pre-conviction program can have their cases dismissed. Those who finish after conviction can have felonies reduced to misdemeanors.

“The program helps keep these people out of prison,” she said.

Currently, 35 people are active in the drug court program. The grant requires 85 people be enrolled by September.

Pugh said that each week, the office averages three to four assessments to determine if a person is appropriate for the program by having substances as an underlying issue in the criminal charge.

The assessments and case management will move to the Ohio Street location, but participants still will appear at the courthouse for their scheduled hearings.

Meanwhile, James Ramer of the veterans court program said 22 defendants are now enrolled in the program, which started in 2016.

Veterans court also received a grant that calls for up to 50 defendants to be enrolled this year, with an additional five defendants to be added in following years.

A qualification for veterans court is that the defendant at some time in the past has a history of military service.

Pugh said the move is expected to take a few days.

An open house in the new space is being planned for March.

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