Senior Judge John E. Girardeau Inducted into the Drug Court Professionals Hall of Fame

altSenior Judge John E. Girardeau was inducted into the Stanley Goldstein Drug Court Hall of Fame on Wednesday, July 20, 2011, in Washington, D.C. by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP).

Over 10 years ago, Judge Girardeau became frustrated by what he observed in Georgia’s criminal justice system. Specifically, he saw that nothing was working to curtail drug crimes and drug addiction. He found himself repeatedly dealing with the same individuals, and in some cases, with multiple generations of families whose involvement with the courts was due to drug-related crimes.
    In 2000, Judge Girardeau decided enough was enough. He formed the Drug Court Steering Committee in Hall County, and in February of the next year the Hall County Drug Court took in its first participant. 
    Today, the Hall County Drug Court is in its tenth year of operation and has had 368 graduates. It serves as a mentor court and is seen as a model throughout the United States and the world. As one of the founding members of the Judicial Council Standing Committee on Drug Courts, Judge Girardeau was influential in the establishment of legislation for drug courts in Georgia. Such legislation provided a firm, legal basis for the drug court movement to expand across the state. This legislation provides the foundation on which new courts can get started as well as legitimizing drug courts as a division of Superior Courts allowing state and federal funding to be solicited.
    He was instrumental in the development of the Dawson County Treatment Court, the first hybrid DUI/Drug Court in Georgia, which opened in September 2006. Additionally, his vision inspired the creation of Hall County’s DUI Court, Mental Health Court, Family Treatment Court, and Parental Accountability Court, as well as the formation of Friends of Recovery, a non-profit organization which supports the treatment courts and participants in the Northeastern Judicial Circuit.

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    “Judge Girardeau has made an indelible mark on Georgia’s criminal justice system,” said NADCP CEO West Huddleston. “His foresight and dedication has been a catalyst for drug court expansion in his circuit and across Georgia. In the 11 years since Judge Girardeau helped create the Hall County Drug Court, 52 other drug, DUI, juvenile, and family dependency courts have started in Georgia with more to come. Numerous lives and families have been saved and will continue to be positively impacted by his tremendous dedication and public service. It is a great honor to include Judge John Girardeau in the Stanley Goldstein Drug Court Hall of Fame.”
    Since the program’s inception in early 2001, the Hall County Drug Court’s retention rate is 91%. Drug Court estimates an annual taxpayer savings of $310,500 in comparison to incarceration.

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