May 2022 Declared “Drug Court Month” in the City of St. Louis

By proclamation of Mayor Tishaura O. Jones, May 2022 has officially been declared as “Drug Court Month” in the City of St. Louis.

The accolade coincides with “National Drug Court Month”, which is observed each May by drug and treatment courts across the country and is coordinated by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals.

It’s also in recognition of the recent 25th anniversary of the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court’s treatment court program, which began in April 1997 and is now the second-longest running such program in Missouri.

“We’re grateful for this recognition from Mayor Jones and the City of St. Louis and are happy to have their support. It’s important that our elected leaders in local government understand the difference treatment court is making in the lives of our residents and their families,” said the Hon. Rochelle Woodiest, Treatment Court Commissioner for the 22nd Judicial Circuit.

“Treatment courts such as ours provide evidence-based treatment and judicial oversight and accountability to help lead people out of the grips of addiction and related crime and help put them on a path toward recovery and hope. We thank Mayor Jones and the City for helping to bring attention to our hardworking staff who help carry out this mission every day,” said the Hon. Matthew Melton, Treatment Court Commissioner for the 22nd Judicial Circuit.

Wilford Pinkney Jr., the Director of Children, Youth, and Families for Mayor Jones, present the Hon. Rochelle Woodiest and the Hon. Matthew Melton, Treatment Court Commissioners for the 22nd Judicial Circuit, with a proclamation declaring May 2022 “Drug Court Month” in the City of St. Louis

The proclamation from Mayor Jones reads:

WHEREAS, The 22nd Judicial Circuit Court is the proud home to Missouri’s second longest running treatment court program at 25 years old.  The award-winning program has helped approximately 2,200 St. Louisans break the cycle of addiction through recovery and accountability; and 

WHEREAS, Treatment courts have been restoring lives and families for more than three decades.  There are now nearly 4,000 treatment courts nationwide; and they are the cornerstone of justice reform sweeping the nation; and 

WHEREAS, Treatment courts have served more than 1.5 million individuals.  They are now recognized as the most successful justice system intervention in our nation’s history.  They save an average of $6,000 for every individual they serve; and 

WHEREAS, Treatment courts significantly improve substance use disorder treatment outcomes, substantially reduce addiction and related crime, and do so at less expense than any other criminal justice strategy; and 

WHEREAS, Treatment courts improve education, employment, housing, and financial stability, promote family reunification, reduce foster care placements, and increase the rate of addicted mothers delivering babies who are fully drug free; and 

WHEREAS, Treatment courts facilitate community-wide partnerships, bringing together public safety and public health; and they demonstrate that when one person rises out of substance use and crime, we all rise. 

Now, therefore, I, Tishaura O. Jones, Mayor of the City of St. Louis, do hereby proclaim the month of May 2022 as:

“DRUG COURT MONTH”

IN THE CITY OF ST. LOUIS

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused to be affixed the seal of the City of St. Louis, this 1st day of May, A.D. 2022.  

The proclamation was presented Monday, May 23 by Wilford Pinkney Jr., the mayor’s Director of Children, Youth, and Families, during a regularly scheduled treatment court graduation ceremony.

Three additional individuals were recognized for successfully completing the program before a crowd of friends, family, supporters, and previous graduates.

Circuit Judge Mason Honored for Organizing New Freedom Suits Memorial

The Hon. David C. Mason has been recognized for his leadership and vision in organizing a new memorial in downtown St. Louis honoring the history and legacy of the Freedom Suits.

The Royal Vagabonds Foundation awarded Judge Mason with its 2022 Leadership Award for civic engagement along with attorney Paul Venker of Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice. Venker serves as chair of a the Freedom Suits Memorial Steering Committee and has been instrumental in helping making the project a reality and organizing support among local legal and civic-minded communities.

The Hon. David C. Mason
Attorney Paul Venker

The memorial, which will be formally unveiled during a 5 p.m. ceremony on Monday, June 20 on the east plaza of the Civil Courts Building, honors hundreds of courageous enslaved plaintiffs who sued for their freedom in the years leading up to the Civil War. Learn more from the St. Louis Bar Foundation here.

Circuit Judge Christopher McGraugh Visits with Lafayette Square Neighbors

With the continued and sustained decline of the level of COVID-19 viral activity in the St. Louis community, the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court is again accepting invitations to appear and speak at various public meetings and events.

Community engagement is extremely important to the Court, which is eager to re-engage with residents about a variety of relevant issues in a meaningful, informative, and constructive dialogue.

On Wednesday, May 11, Circuit Judge Christopher McGraugh was on hand at SqWires Annex for a regular meeting of the Lafayette Square Restoration Committee (LSRC).

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The Hon. Christopher McGraugh speaking with members of the Lafayette Square Restoration Committee on Wednesday, May 11 at SqWires Annex.

Judge McGraugh, who’s assigned to division 19 of the circuit court, spoke about the latest impacts of COVID-19 on general court operations and the process in which judges are selected and retained in the City of St. Louis under the Missouri Plan.

He also gave those in attendance an update on some changes to jury service and helped provide insight into some of the determinations judges are required by law to make regarding criminal defendants pretrial.

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The Hon. Christopher McGraugh speaking with members of the Lafayette Square Restoration Committee on Wednesday, May 11 at SqWires Annex.

The Court wishes to thank the members and leadership of LSRC for inviting Judge McGraugh to come speak. If you or your organization are interested in having a judge or representative of the Court attend one of your events, please reach out to Chief Communications Officer Jacob Long at Jacob.Long@courts.mo.gov or (314) 622-5685.