The mood was lighthearted as Pickens County Commissioner Chairman Robert Jones introduced guest speaker District Attorney Alison Sosebee to the Rotary Club of Jasper during their weekly lunch meeting today. He jokingly stated that her only request if she were to win the election (which she did) was for a new courthouse (which she got).
A lunch menu including smothered baked chicken and salad satisfied a large crowd who listened attentively as Sosebee outlined the measures she’s put into place since taking office in January. She named outstanding staff and experienced attorneys she’s placed in the county offices of the Appalachian Judicial Circuit. The hiring of Brian Stanford as chief of staff placed all three offices (Gilmer, Fannin and Pickens) under the same “umbrella” which unified their missions and operating procedures.
The addition of specialists in areas of child abuse and sex offenses will help as she cited around 550 cases of that nature currently on the rosters.
She emphasized her ability and experience with alternative sentencing courts and how they can help people with various maladies rather than traditional sentencing which institutes prison/jail time rather than giving people a chance to help themselves utilizing court resources. While serving under a previous district attorney she was given the option to write the first grant for the first drug court in the circuit which lead her on her path of advocating for alternative courts.
Those alternative courts include mental health courts which have access to treatment, medication and medication checks for those individuals who may have few options when they experience these types of medical problems or commit crimes due to those problems. This year the veterans court program has been established for those who’ve served our country and in service to us have PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) or other problems associated with their time served and deserve their own specialized court services. Falling within the realm of juvenile court is also family drug court for a more comprehensive treatment alternative.
One area of particular pride is that drug program she wrote the first grant for years ago is now being used as a pilot for other districts seeking to start their own programs. Sosebee stated,
“To have a court that has a program for recovery to addiction is special.”
Particularly troublesome for our area, which makes the success of these alternative courts special, is that generally urban metro areas have resources and rehabilitation facilities at their disposal whereas our more rural areas do not.
The Rotary Club of Jasper meets weekly on Wednesdays at the Chattahoochee Technical College at noon for lunch and guest speakers. If anyone has additional questions, please contact President Jack Short at 706-253-1830.