Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $899,780)
Although there are many support services offered by Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma to those struggling with addiction, our tribal courts currently lack the capacity to deliver a coordinated services approach to adults in need of alternative sentencing and probation services informed by Choctaw culture and beliefs. Currently there are no dedicated services for those individuals coming through the legal system battling addiction. Project Atuya (Choctaw for Steppingstone) will build the capacity of CNO’s Healing to Wellness Program and tribal police investigation efforts. CNO’s Healing to Wellness Program will streamline the legal process and provide meaningful treatment and alternative sentencing to a population struggling with poverty and drug abuse. Creating this program is critical to responding to the overwhelming statistics present in the Choctaw Nation’s reservation. Expanding CNO judicial services to include a focus on establishing and implementing a Healing to Wellness Program will most certainly continue to increase caseload demands. To meet this expected growth in cases, funding to expand the court’s capacity to provide services in needed. This vision will be accomplished through hiring an intake coordinator and providing counseling services to those individuals eligible for CNO’s adjudication and support services. The court’s capacity will be further enhanced by purchasing fingerprinting equipment to allow tribal police to respond to in the field to better process potential drug court candidates at their first encounter with the judicial system.