Forrest and Perry County
Adult Drug and DUI Court held their graduation ceremony today at Lake Terrace
Convention Center for the program Judge Helfrich says saves lives.
Twenty graduates of the Forrest and Perry
County Drug Court sang the praises of the program. Many taking the podium claim
drug court saved them. The program requires those with non-violent offenses and
substance abuse problems to enroll and spend three years adhering to strict
terms. Participants must choose a type of drug or alcohol treatment, attend
self-help and support group meetings, continue their education, pass random
drug tests, stay out of trouble, along with other conditions.
Judge Robert Helfrich said
Monday, "They are rock bottom, most of them are and to see them put their lives
back together and their families back together, it's just so rewarding. We've
got 260 people in the program. It's like I have 260 children. We celebrate
their successes and the failures crush us."
Helfrich said the national rate at which
offenders end back up in jail is almost 70%. Only around 15% of drug court
graduates end up back in jail.