James G. Blanchard Jr., the Eighth Superior Court Judge for the Augusta Judicial Circuit, has received the 2013 Community Partner Award from the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University.
Blanchard, who also presides over Drug Court and Mental Health Court in the Augusta Judicial District of Burke, Columbia and Richmond counties, was honored for working to address the unique needs of individuals who come into the legal system with mental illness and substance abuse problems, Dr. W. Vaughn McCall, Department Chairman, said in announcing the award.
“Judge Blanchard is one of a kind, a unique human who is not only interested in justice and fairness, but truly is compassionate and caring,” said McCall, characterizing the judge as a humanitarian, advocate and community asset.
Blanchard helped establish a Drug Court for the Augusta area, which seeks to create safer communities and reduce substance abuse rates by providing structured, comprehensive treatment to substance abusers. Treatment programs include monitored drug screening, mandatory employment or school attendance, and regular court appearances.
Blanchard also is an advisor to the Augusta Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness and visits the East Central Regional Hospital regularly to gain insight and provide support for people with mental illness.
Blanchard earned his law degree from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala. He is a lifetime member of the Columbia County Historical Society, and a member of the Shield Club of Greater Augusta, Riverfront Marines Detachment 1132, and the Augusta-Richmond County Citizens for Good Government.