by Alice Culpepper
On July 2nd, participants and guests gathered to celebrate great milestones for four of the Northeastern Judicial Circuit’s Accountability Courts. Hall County Drug Court marked 20 years since it was established under the Honorable John G. Girardeau in 2001. At that time, the Hall County Drug Court was the fourth of its kind in the state of Georgia, and over the last 20 years, 908 individuals have graduated from the program. Both the Dawson County Treatment Court and the Hall County Family Treatment Court celebrated 15 years of services to the Northeastern Judicial District. During this time, the Dawson County Treatment Court has had 331 individuals graduate from the program, and the Hall County Family Treatment Court has seen 167 parents graduate from the program. The Hall County Parental Accountability Court marked 10 years since its beginning. Under Judge Bonnie C. Oliver, the Accountability Court became the first of its kind to collect $1 million of child support.
After 20 years of service to the Northeastern Judicial Circuit, these Accountability Courts play a major role in the lives and treatment of citizens in Hall and Dawson County, now serving around 500 participants each day. Judges Bonnie Oliver, Cliff Jolliff, Clint Bearden, John G. Girardeau, Alison Toller, and Jason Deal have all played an integral role in the success of these courts and their graduates. This was very apparent in the emotional thank-yous that previous graduates gave each of them during the ceremony for their amazing work in helping participants’ road to recovery.