2016 Michael Prestera Award Winner
May 13, 2016
Prestera Center announced a winner for the prestigious Michael Prestera Award of Excellence at the Annual Board Meeting held on 4/26/2016 in Huntington, WV. Former US Prosecuting Attorney Booth Goodwin of Charleston, WV was named the 2016 Michael Prestera Award of Excellence winner. Booth Goodwin has been instrumental in West Virginia’s war against the heroin and pain pill epidemic which has impacted the lives of so many West Virginia families. Through his efforts, pushers have been prosecuted, new intervention programs have been created and new partnerships have been forged.
The “Handle With Care” program was initiated by Mr. Goodwin to alert schools that a law enforcement intervention has occurred in a child’s home, and that the child may need special care and may even need mental health services. Handle with Care is being replicated across West Virginia and nationally.
Mr. Goodwin brought a federally funded “Weed and Seed” project that led to a “Drug Market Intervention” project in Huntington and the West Side of Charleston, creating opportunities for lower level defendants to have access to behavioral health, education, employment and other community resources and supports.Defendants participated in an intervention where they were offered the choice of continuing to sell drugs on the streets and be prosecuted on evidence obtained, or, take advantage of these resources and begin a life of recovery.Many chose recovery.
Another creative initiative established through his office is a “Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion” program, or LEAD program that began in Kanawha County as a multi-agency task force partnering with Prestera Center to offer immediate access to treatment services. This program gives law enforcement the ability to offer treatment rather than incarceration for individuals who would be appropriate for treatment. The program’s goal is to reduce arrest recidivism and offer immediate access to treatment. The Kanawha County LEAD program has a success rate of 96% and has expanded to sites in Huntington with additional expansion being planned for other WV counties. This program has demonstrated a strong partnership between law enforcement and substance abuse treatment providers helps people recover.Goodwin has demonstrated a solid commitment to and has made a significant contribution to behavioral health/substance abuse services system. The Prestera Center and its Board of Directors sincerely appreciate his leadership and service on behalf of individuals with behavioral health and substance abuse needs.