10th Annual Accountability Courts Conference Proves Successful

When the 10th Annual Accountability Courts Conference opened up on September 15, nearly 1,000 participants flooded through the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel and Convention Center.  A panel of leaders in Georgia’s Accountability Court community kicked off the Different Paths, One Goals: A Decade of Reform, Restoration, & Results conference, including Chief Judge Brenda S. Weaver, Chair, Judicial Council Accountability Court Committee; Judge Jason Deal, Superior Courts, Northeastern Judicial Circuit, and Marla S. Moore, JC/AOC Director.
Also on hand to welcome those in attendance were special speakers Chief Justice Hugh P. Thompson and Gov. Nathan Deal who spoke about the importance of accountability courts in the lives of those most affected and the impact accountability courts have on the criminal justice system.
“The conference was designed so participants could engage in various ways and leave more informed and prepared to shape the future of accountability courts in Georgia and around the country,” according to Lateefah Thomas, Accountability Court Program Manager. To facilitate the most effective engagement, a full day of training was available on September 14 to those interested in healing interventions, individualizing Juvenile Treatment Courts, and a Veterans Court mentor boot camp prior to the opening ceremony. 
The conference began in earnest at 10:00 a.m. on September 15 as the attendees — including judges, court administrators, accountability court coordinators, attorneys, law enforcement officers, and treatment providers — broke out for different sessions.  Presenters brought an array of experiences and backgrounds to topics ranging from Evidence Based Practice: What Every Treatment Court Should Know, Culture, Bias, and Race: Practical Strategies for Treatment Courts, Incentives and Sanctions in Juvenile Drug Courts: Tools You Can Use, Marketing Your Accountability Courts to Local Officials, Best Practices in Drug/Accountability Courts, Key Principles in Changing the Behavior of Accountability Court Clients, Inspiring Outcomes with Families: Review of FDTC Strategies and Outcomes, and Improving Outcomes for Adult Drug Court Clients and their Children.
A 4-day certification program for Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT) Certified Training for Practitioners was offered for those interested in reducing recidivism through an evidence-based curriculum that promotes offender insight into the consequences of criminal behavior, acceptance of Accountability Court programming, and behavioral change.
To mark the ten-year anniversary of the conference, the Accountability Court Committee created the Leadership Award to recognize dedicated leadership to accountability courts across the state. The inaugural recipient of the Leadership Award was Senior Judge Tommy Day Wilcox whose name the Award will bear.  A plague bearing the recipients names will be displayed in the Judicial Council/Administrative Office of the Courts office in Atlanta.
For the second year, Accountability Court Hero Awards were distributed to those who show extraordinary dedication to accountability courts in Georgia.  Judge Jason Deal, Superior Courts, Northeastern Judicial Circuit distributed awards to: 

Judge Richard C. Sutton, Tallapoosa Circuit Drug Court;
Staff Sergeant Alan D. Roach, Enotah Adult Family Drug Court, Law Enforcement/Supervision Liaison;
Migdalia Roman-Ortiz, Douglas County Family Dependency Treatment Court, Case Manager;
Dan Durand, Troup County Felony Drug Court, Community Partner;
Dr. Priscilla Faulkner, Newton County Resource Court, Treatment Provider; and
• Hoke Snelson, Hall County Drug Court and Probation Court, Coordinator.

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