U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, who helped initiate the first Drug Court in Jackson County, greeted and congratulated about two dozen new graduates of Jackson County Drug Court in a special ceremony Monday at the Jackson County Courthouse in Kansas City.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill and Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker

McCaskill delivered remarks for the graduates and their supporters, praising the graduates and noting how far the program has come since it was initiated in the early 1990s, when she was prosecutor here. Now, nearly 3,000 persons have benefited from the program, which allows drug offenders to receive treatment in lieu of traditional prosecution. McCaskill noted the strong, bi-partisan support for such programs and recalled how she knew the program had achieved some success when police drug officers, who initially were skeptical of it, attended a graduation a few years later and applauded the graduates.

“At that moment, I knew we had created something special,” McCaskill stated.

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker introduced McCaskill and detailed how such programs have grown in Missouri and across the nation. Now, nearly 165 Drug Court programs exist in Missouri.

The ceremony on Monday marked the 150th class of Drug Court graduates. Drug Court Commissioner David Fry, with McCaskill, handed each graduate their certificate of completion.