Judgement free meetings to be held locally

Published 7:00 am Friday, April 20, 2018

Local religious leaders, law enforcement officers, judges and representatives of agencies that provide assistance to people fighting addiction held the first of many planned meetings, called No Judgement Day, to help people fighting addiction.

Michael Brown, the Division Director with the Department of Human Services and a youth pastor at Crane Creek Baptist Church, said the idea to hold these meetings in Pearl River County came after attending a similar meeting in Hancock County. Brown said Hancock County Justice Court Judge Desmond Hoda invited him to one of the meetings recently, during which he recognized the benefits of starting a similar effort in Pearl River County.

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The first No Judgment Day in Pearl River County was held Thursday evening at the Faith Memorial Baptist Church in Poplarville, but Brown said he plans to hold one every month or month and a half.

He also intends to hold the meetings at a different church or venue each time, so he is looking for churches to participate.

During each meeting, community members dealing with addiction can learn about services available locally that can help them not only overcome their addiction, but also get on their feet. Brown said he has already invited a number of law enforcement officers, judges, food pantries, homeless shelters and addiction treatment centers to participate. He also invited Chancery Clerk Melinda Bowman along with Sheriff David Allison. Speakers may also come from those who beat their addiction and went on to lead a successful life.

Brown said the focus of the meetings will be to break the perceived barriers between those fighting addiction and those who uphold the law. As a former law enforcement officer, Brown said he wants those fighting addiction to know judges and law enforcement officers are there to help.

Anyone interested in attending the next event to share information about recovery, speak about helpful services or to get information about those services, can contact Brown at 601-795-1528 or via email at mjbrown7@crimson.ua.edu.

Each meeting will start at 7 p.m. and last about two hours.