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FERRIER FILES: Former employees speak about hypocrisy in Davidson County drug court

(WZTV)

The idea of the Davidson County drug court is to allow felony offenders a chance to avoid prison by entering a drug program.

One of the managers of the program is himself on probation for drug and alcohol-related convictions

Alarick Pruitt is the program manager for the Davidson County drug court. One of his self-described duties to develop and reinforce program rules, policies and procedures for employees and residents of the drug program.

He is a supervisor who grades job performance and holds employees accountable.

In 2007, Pruitt was arrested for a DUI. His eyes were red and bloodshot, and his blood alcohol count was .184

Then late last year he was found passed out in his car. Police officers had to call the fire department to break a window.

He later admitted that he was taking Xanax and drinking. He was charged with a second DUI.

Two former employees of drug court said he should have been fired.

“To take Xanax and alcohol and passed out on the side of the road is ridiculous and to take no action is ridiculous,” said Ron Miller a former drug court supervisor.

Dean Wilson is the retired clinical director of the drug court and a big fan of Judge Norman and the court.

“The first in house drug treatment center in the world; I was fortunate enough to be a part of that,” Wilson said.

The feels this is a hypocrisy.

"A lot of felons feel like the system is bad and against them," Wilson said. "Anything we do that reinforces that belief is bad for the program. It is a hypocrisy."

Wilson will tell you that it is important that all drug court employees model the behavior they are asking drug offenders to live up to.

Ron Miller said he was fired 12 years into his career for doing a background check on criminal without authorization.

He said others have been fired as well for even less.

“I don't even understand that even a little bit," Miller said. "That double standard is off the chart for their history and standard."

Pruitt's direct supervisor at community corrections is Janet Hobson. The ultimate boss of drug court is Judge Seth Norman.

The 18 judges of Davidson County can hire whoever they want no matter their record. Their hiring power has no limits.

Fox 17 News reached out both of them and asked for an explanation on why Pruitt has remained in his position after two DUI convictions.

They said they would consider a statement and call back, but they never did.

The Director of the drug court has released the following statement:
I am writing in response to your request for information regarding whether we have a staff member working for Drug Court who has been arrested twice for DUI.
Yes, we do have an employee who was arrested twice for DUI. Here is the background information. This employee has worked for Metro since 2005. He has been an exemplary employee during his tenure with the Drug Court program, and he was promoted to a supervisory position approximately two years ago.
He was arrested in 2007 for a DUI 1st and he immediately reported this arrest to his supervisors. He was placed on an administrative suspension at the time, he was referred to our employee assistance program, and he was required to submit to random drug tests upon request by management. He was prohibited from driving any Metro vehicles while his driver’s license was suspended.
No further incidents occurred for approximately 9 years. However, he was arrested for a 2nd DUI in 2016. He plead guilty to this charge and was given probation, which is scheduled to be completed this year. When this arrest occurred, he immediately informed his supervisor. Due to this employee’s excellent employment record and positive performance evaluations, he was issued a written reprimand and mandated to undergo a drug and alcohol assessment through the employee assistance program. He was also ordered to provide documentation of his attendance at employee assistance program sessions. He has complied with these directives. He is unable to drive a Metro vehicle until his driver’s license is returned to the appropriate status. Further, the employee was given written notice that if an alcohol related issue occurs again, he will be subject to disciplinary action.
Thanks,
Janet Hobson, Director

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