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A ceremonial check presentation will be held on December 18 at 2 p.m. to celebrate the award of a $500,000 grant that paves the way for an adult recovery court in Halifax County.

State Representative Michael Wray will make the presentation to court and county officials on the front lawn of the courthouse complex on Ferrell Lane in Halifax.

The public is invited to attend.

In a joint statement today Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Brenda G. Branch and District Court Judge Teresa R. Freeman said plans are being made for the Halifax County adult recovery court, officially called the Judicially Managed Accountability and Recovery Court, to become operational in July of 2024. “This court will require collaboration from the entire community in order to provide services necessary to treat clients who have high needs and who are at high risk of reoffending,” the statement said.

The court will be held every two weeks with an expected 12- to 24-month timeframe for participants to work toward completion and graduation.

Throughout this process Branch collaborated with the state Administrative Office of the Courts and Wray to establish an initial funding source for the court. “As a result of Representative Wray's vigorous and intensive commitment to obtain funding for the program and in conjunction with state Senator Bobby Hanig, Wray submitted a request for funds in the state budget to establish a recovery court in Halifax County,” the statement said. “Through these extensive efforts, the General Assembly awarded a JMARC directed grant to Halifax County in the amount of $500,000 to aid the local court with establishing essential funds to implement and operate the JMARC, which will last from 2023-2025.”

The Halifax County Adult Recovery Court Team will continue to apply for additional funding in order to sustain the program beyond the 2025 timeframe.


Drug courts, frequently referred to as recovery courts, are specialized courts that provide an alternative to traditional court proceedings for justice-involved individuals who struggle with substance use disorders and mental health issues. 

This court is supervised by a judge and a team of court officials who work in collaboration with local agencies and treatment providers to address the root causes of criminal behavior such as poverty, mental health issues, physical health issues, unemployment and lifestyle changes. 

The team will seek solutions that address a participant's comprehensive needs by utilizing their expertise through collaborative partnerships while holding the participants accountable when they fail to follow protocols. 

The overall goals of recovery court include affecting real changes in a participant's life, helping them become productive citizens, and enhancing public safety by reducing crime and recidivism.


Last year Branch collaborated with and requested assistance from the AOC to help establish an adult recovery court in Halifax County. 

The AOC allotted a part-time position which was filled by Melinda Hardy to aid Branch with planning COVID backlog case reduction, research funding to establish and sustain operating an adult recovery court in Halifax County and assist Branch with her transition from chief district court judge to senior resident superior court judge.

In consultation with court officials — Chief District Court Judge W. Turner Stephenson Ill, Freeman, Judge Vershenia Johnson, Judge W. Rob Lewis II and District Attorney Kim G. Scott — the group decided that the recovery court would operate under the Judicial District 6 District Court Division and the lead judge would be Freeman.

In March the team was established and members shared a committed goal of participating in training conducted by the National Drug Court Institute in order to establish the court.


April: Freeman attended and facilitated a session highlighting recovery courts at the North Carolina Family Court Conference in Concord.

April: Hardy attended the NC T.E.A.M.S. Building Recovery Statewide Conference in Asheville.

June: Team members traveled to Beaufort County to observe the recovery court in North Carolina Judicial District 2.

June: Team members traveled to Houston to attend the All Rise National Recovery Court Conference, which is a landmark event that provides access to unparalleled education and networking with treatment court professionals to expand treatment for people with substance use and mental health disorders who become involved in the legal system.

August: Team members traveled to Durham and completed the National Drug Court Institute Foundational Training, which was developed in partnership with the Bureau of Justice Assistance within the Office of Justice Programs in the U.S. Department of Justice to provide the building blocks for successful adult drug courts.

Continued meetings

Since the completion of training in August, the Halifax County Adult Recovery Court Team has met at least twice per month to carve out local policies and procedures to establish a framework for the court. 

Current team members include Freeman, Scott, Assistant District Attorney John Lohman, Sheriff Tyree Davis, Chief Probation Officer Chaka Bailey, attorney Damon Parish, treatment provider Dr. Florence lchukwu, program evaluator Dr. Elizabeth G. Marsal, Court Manager Danielle Moore and Custody and Visitation Mediator Tiffany Brooks.