The 10th Judicial District Drug Court hosted a grand opening and ribbon cutting Wednesday.
Drug courts have been around for 20 years, but this is the first one for Lauderdale County. It could be expanded later to Clarke, Kemper and Wayne counties, which are part of the 10th Circuit Court District with Lauderdale County.
Advocates like state Rep. Alyce Clarke were on hand to welcome it.
Special Circuit Court Judge Vel Young said it offers an alternative to jail for offenders who take advantage of a second chance.
"We will take the first-time possession cases right now. Hopefully we will take other cases that are drug-related before long. But yes, we will have that case load. Commissioner Epps of the Mississippi Department of Corrections has been kind enough to give us our own probation officer. So we will have that. It will also take a load off the probation officers,"
Participants submit to drug and alcohol screening during the 36-month program. Those who successfully complete the program will not have the crime on their record.