- Associated Press - Thursday, August 21, 2014

NATCHEZ, Miss. (AP) - Talk of growth and rehabilitation can be heard this week at the Natchez Convention Center.

The Mississippi Association of Drug Court Professionals is hosting a conference to discuss legislation, new methods and success stories in the court system.

Drug Courts seek to rehabilitate drug-using offenders through drug treatment and intense supervision with frequent court appearances and random drug testing.

Drug courts offer the incentive of a chance to remain out of jail and be employed and the sanction of a prison sentence if participants fail to remain drug-free and in compliance with program requirements.

Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr. recognized court members who he said have rehabilitated hundreds of people this year.

Waller also encouraged courts to rehabilitate more people, and help make success stories around the state.

“It saves lives, saves money and makes justice work,” Waller said of the drug courts.

MADCP President Tracy Swafford tells The Natchez Democrat (http://bit.ly/1ndwjER) attendees will learn about new drug trends and drug culture.

The conference will include presentations from mental health and drug treatment professionals, judges and law enforcement.

On Thursday, country music singer Jeff Bates was to tell attendees how landing in jail on drug charges helped him break out of his methamphetamine addiction.

Bates, a Marion County native, has been a musician for over 10 years. He regularly uses the spotlight to tell his personal story of methamphetamine addiction, arrest and religious conversion in a jail cell.

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Information from: The Natchez Democrat, http://www.natchezdemocrat.com/