May has been declared CNMI Drug Court Month to highlight the CNMI Drug Court system, which shifts the focus from putting people in prison for drug offenses to rehabilitating them and giving them professional help.
In a proclamation signing yesterday at the CNMI Drug Court offices in the Karidat Center in Chalan Kanoa, two people whose lives were changed by the Drug Court’s rehabilitation program shared updates on their lives since becoming sober and receiving help from the Drug Court. The two also spoke about how they remain involved with the CNMI Drug Court’s programs and are connected to people who are still participating in the programs.
“The Drug Court is a treatment court. We shift our focus from the traditional criminal justice system where we incarcerate people and punish them. These are people, individuals who have underlying reasons, in this case drug addition, why they commit crimes. …Throwing them in prison is not going to fix that—we need to arrest the addiction, not the person,” said Superior Court Associate Judge Teresa Kim-Tenorio, who handles the CNMI Drug Court Program.
Besides Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, who signed the official proclamation document, the signing ceremony was also attended by first lady Diann Torres, Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios, Senate President Jude Hofschneider (R-Tinian), House Speaker Edmund Villagomez (Ind-Saipan), U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona, CNMI Supreme Court Chief Justice Alexandro Castro, and associate justices John Manglona and Perry Inos.
This year’s CNMI Drug Court Month will feature a KKMP radio show, a softball game, Family Fun Day, orientation for families with loved ones in the Drug Court and/or battling addiction, and a Walk for Recovery on May 27.