HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - A graduation ceremony was held Monday at Lake Terrace Convention Center for the Forrest-Perry Adult Drug DUI and Veterans court.
About 200 people saw participants receive their certificate of completion and watched as guest speaker, country music artist, Jeff Bates, give his testimony as a recovering addict.
I know what it takes to remain sober and I do it, so hopefully I can inspire other people to say, 'hey you know we can do this' and if I can, anybody can. There's a better way there's a better life and we don't have to keep doing this to ourselves and to people that we love," Bates said.
12th Circuit Court Judge Bob Helfrich, who oversees the program said, "It's a very strenuous program, it's a three-year program. To see the transformation in them when they come from the depths of active addition to a life of recovery is an amazing feeling. The program saves lives."
The court was established as an alternative to serving time in jail for non-violent offenders with the disease of substance abuse and chemical dependency.
The program has been in place since 2003.