Berkshire DA’s Team Increasing Number of Drug Court Participants
Berkshire District Attorney Andrea Harrington and her team have been working with the Trial Court and Probation for two years to significantly increase the number of participants in Drug Court.
As reported in a recent newsletter from the District Attorney Harrington's office, Drug Court is one tool in addressing the opioid crisis. Harrington's team embraces harm reduction, expanded Narcan distribution, treatment for those who are ready, Drug Court, and ending the stigma of shame around people who use drugs. Harrington's team look to build on these efforts with an adult diversion program in the future.
The following is an excerpt of an update provided to the District Attorney's office's senior leadership from their prosecutor overseeing drug court to highlight the importance and impact drug court is having on people’s lives.
Covid has been a challenge, to say the least. Everyone has their job to do and we all have different roles in the courtroom, but I believe what is going on in the drug court is changing lives. The support that is being offered to the participants is really amazing. In recent weeks and yesterday, the discussions and what was shared during the court session were truly amazing. I just really wanted you to know that it truly is an honor for me to watch and be a part of the drug court. We are dealing with people who have purpose and have so much to offer. This is not an easy task for anyone. I truly believe that what we are doing here I this office, in court, and in the drug court is making a difference. The statements from the participants appear to be genuine and I believe that is because the commitment to the participants is genuine. The compassion is real.
… Tears almost fell down my cheeks yesterday. I could say something special about every one of the participants, they are people worth a chance, who give as much back to those of us who listen to what they have to say. They are changing how things are done in the courtroom.”
Berkshire District Attorney Andrea Harrington’s office serves all 32 cities and towns in Berkshire County. The office represents the Commonwealth in more than 7,500 criminal cases per year in Berkshire Superior Court, three district courts, three juvenile courts, Massachusetts Appeals Court, and Supreme Judicial Court. The office works closely with the State Police Detective Unit assigned to the Berkshire District Attorney’s Office, the Berkshire Law Enforcement Task Force, and collaborates with local police departments across the county. A dedicated staff of more than 50 prioritizes public safety, empowering victims and witnesses through services and support, and building a safe community for everyone and especially the most vulnerable.
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