Drug Diversion Court’s Twenty Years of Success Recognized at Graduation Ceremony

Governor Markell, Senator Carper pay tribute to program and newest graduates

Wilmington, DE – Having built a record of turning around the lives of Delawareans with substance abuse issues, the New Castle County Superior Court’s Drug Diversion Court graduated its newest class today at the New Castle County Courthouse where Governor Jack Markell and Senator Tom Carper lauded the Court’s achievements over twenty years. Drug Diversion Court


The program, which diverts people arrested for certain drug offenses to treatment instead of a trial, has met its goals of recovery and lower rates of recidivism for people with drug addictions.


“This program’s success in reducing recidivism and giving Delawareans the treatment they need is a reminder to all of us that strengthening our justice system so often does not mean putting more offenders in prison,” said Governor Markell. “I thank everyone involved in the Drug Diversion Court over the past two decades for their dedication to the success of its participants and for making Delaware a national model for effective treatment and recovery.”


As part of today’s ceremony for the ten latest participants to successfully meet the program’s requirements, Judge Jerome Herlihy, who now presides over the Drug Court, announced on the record that the criminal charge against each graduate was dismissed and presented them with certificates. The Superior Court reports that participants have recidivism rates around 32 – 35 percent in the two years following graduation.Drug Diversion Court


“Over 20 years our drug court has faced a number of challenges due to the wide variety of drugs being abused or to which people are addicted,” said Judge Herlihy. “But now with more plentiful, stronger and cheaper heroin, the challenge to us is greater and more serious than probably ever before. This challenge is to all inside and outside the criminal justice system. It will not end soon.


“This Drug Court has enjoyed the support of all three branches of government since its inception. We are great full and look forward to this support continuing.”

According to the Superior Court, it offered one of the first Drug Diversion Courts in the United States. Today, there are now more than 2,500 such programs.


“There’s no doubt that we are up against a powerful enemy,” said Sen. Carper. “But there are ways to break the cycle of addiction, and the drug court is one of those ways. I’m proud that Delaware was among the first states to adopt a drug court – and many other states have followed because it not only works, but it’s the right thing to do.”


Established under the leadership of Judge Richard Gebelein in 1994 during then-Governor Carper’s administration, the Court has served nearly 5,900 people who have voluntarily entered its program, which partners with private treatment providers to direct individuals to the help they need over the period of six months to one year. Of the participants, about 3,800 have graduated after attending individual and group therapy session, receiving additional outpatient or inpatient services if required, consistently proving they are clean, and taking part in status conferences with the Court.

Delaware’s AmeriCorps Program to Mark 20 Years of Volunteerism with Sept. 12 Celebration

New Castle, DE – Delaware’s AmeriCorps program will mark 20 years of volunteerism and service to the state on Sept. 12 with the swearing-in of a new group of members and by celebrating the many contributions of AmeriCorps alumni during a recognition dinner at the University of Delaware’s Clayton Hall Conference Center in Newark.

The event, beginning at 5 p.m., is open to the public, alumni, current members, nonprofit organizations, prospective members or organizations, and anyone interested in learning more about the services offered through AmeriCorps. All proceeds from tickets sales and donations will further the work of the AmeriCorps program across the state.

Registration is required for attendance and open through Aug. 31, or until capacity has been reached.

Beginning in September 2013, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) launched a yearlong celebration of the impact of AmeriCorps and its 20 years of dedicated service to America. Through events, service projects and personal stories, Delaware will highlight the many contributions of AmeriCorps members and alumni, while also highlighting important moments in AmeriCorps history.

President Bill Clinton signed legislation in September 1993 creating AmeriCorps, and the first class of members began serving on Sept. 12, 1994. Working through service commissions in each state, AmeriCorps matches a member’s interest to the area in which they would like to volunteer, meeting critical community needs in social services, the environment, emergency preparedness and education. Each year, more than 85,000 people join AmeriCorps. Since 1994, more than 900,000 members have contributed more than 1.2 billion hours in service.

“Over the years, AmeriCorps members have helped build a stronger Delaware,” Gov. Jack Markell said. “They bring vitality, enthusiasm and a strong commitment to making a difference in our communities. In exchange, the nonprofit organizations, government agencies and schools where they serve offer them valuable on-the-job learning experiences. It’s a win-win for our state.”

In Delaware, the AmeriCorps program is coordinated by the Division of State Service Centers within the Department of Health and Social Services. Since 1994, more than 2,400 members in Delaware have contributed more than 3.3 million hours of service at a value of more than $66.9 million. On Sept. 12, Delaware will swear in 125 members who will serve for one year with the Delaware Commission of Veterans Affairs, the Delaware Economic Development Office, Habitat for Humanity, Ministry of Caring, Public Allies and Teach for America.

“For 20 years, AmeriCorps has been a remarkable force for good in our neediest communities here in Delaware and around the country,” said U.S. Sen. Tom Carper. “Without the efforts of these bright young men and women who make up the AmeriCorps, many great volunteering initiatives would not happen. I am so grateful to this program and its good works.”

“Welcome to AmeriCorps members who have devoted themselves to serving our communities, brightening the lives of everyone they help and improving the quality of living in our state,” U.S. Sen. Chris Coons said. “For the last 20 years, the work AmeriCorps members have done in Delaware, such as improving parks, tutoring children, and working with the homeless, has made a tremendous impact on an array of needs in our community. I thank the AmeriCorps members who have served in Delaware and encourage all who are considering serving to check out an event to learn more about how they can give back.”

“I’m pleased to welcome this group of dedicated young men and women to the AmeriCorps program,” Congressman John Carney. “AmeriCorps members have worked to make Delaware a better place since the program began two decades ago. They serve those in need, learn valuable skills that will benefit them in the future, and set a positive example for others. I’m a proud supporter of the AmeriCorps program and know that this new group of volunteers will inspire even more Delawareans to serve.”

In exchange for a year of service in Delaware (1,700 hours), members 17 and older receive:

  • Valuable work experience in their chosen field.
  • $5,350 to pay for college, graduate school or to pay back student loans.
  • Health coverage and loan deferment while in service.
  • In some cases, a living allowance of a minimum of $12,100.
  • The opportunity to meet new people, make new friends and travel.

For online ticket purchases please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/americorps-20th-anniversary-celebration-tickets-11779909025.  Tickets are $50 per person or $30 for AmeriCorps Alumni using promo code AC2014.

For more information about the nationwide celebration or details on AmeriCorps, please visit http://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps/americorps20.

For more information about AmeriCorps, contact India S. Colon, Marketing and Media Coordinator, at the State Office of Volunteerism, at (302) 255-9745 or india.colon@delaware.gov.