Last updated: February 19. 2013 7:25PM - 808 Views

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WILKES-BARRE – A county assistant district attorney was elected last month to serve a two-year term as vice president of the state Association of Drug Court Professionals.

Jim McMonagle, who has been handling Luzerne County's Drug Treatment Court since January 2007, said in his role he'll support the association's goal to get a drug treatment court in every county in the state.

McMonagle, who has worked as an assistant district attorney since 1993, won the position at the association's annual conference on Oct. 17 in State College.

It's an honor to be elected and I'll certainly do my best to be a good vice president and work for the good of the order, McMonagle said Tuesday.

McMonaglesaid he was surprised to be nominated.

I was asked if I would accept a nomination, and I thought if someone thinks I could do a good job, then sure, he said.

I'm excited that I get a chance to meet other people across the state in problem-solving courts, he said.

As vice president, McMonagle will perform general duties if the president, Judge Steven O'Neill of Montgomery County, is unavailable; speak on issues to the association and organize training sessions.

O'Neill served as vice president until he was elected president in October.

My office and I are proud that Jim's efforts have been recognized by the PADCP. … I am sure Jim will continue to work hard to provide the opportunities and protections, of treatment court to every county in the commonwealth, District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis said.

Salavantis said that since McMonagle's appointment to the county's treatment court program, he has worked with agencies to provide opportunities to those struggling with addiction while ensuring the safety of county residents.

Luzerne County's Drug Treatment Court is for adults charged with non-violent crimes related to or motivated by their addiction to drugs or alcohol. There have been 107 graduates of the program, a low recidivism rate and an estimated savings to the county of $41,332 per graduate.

McMonagle said not only is the program a money saver, it helps get repeat offenders out of court and back into society as successful contributing members.

McMonagle said doing his job within the county's drug court system provides satisfaction when one person he didn't think would succeed does.

That's what makes it all worth it, McMonagle said.

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