50 graduate from 15th Circuit drug court

Published: Jun. 25, 2021 at 9:11 PM CDT
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COLUMBIA, Miss. (WDAM) - Friday morning, 50 people walked across the stage at Woodlawn Park Church to celebrate their fresh start and second chance at life.

Family, friends, state senators and House Speaker Philip Gunn watched as the 15th Circuit Court held its drug court graduation ceremony.

“I’m here in support of the program,” Gunn said. “We started this program years ago in the legislature, looking for an alternative way to treat drug offenders besides incarceration. Hopefully redeeming life, hopefully giving them a new path.”

Graduating from the program means that you will no longer have a felony record. The keynote speaker was Mississippi Department of Corrections commissioner Burl Cain, who says that the program is great chance for people to start over.

“MDOC and Mississippi and the legislature, they are really committed to re-entry, and the new program and changing of people’s lives,” Cain said. “It means a safer state and less violent crimes.”

In his speech, Cain spoke about the key to being successful in the world, but his main point was about being a selfless person.

“I wanted them to realize that it’s not just about self, it’s about what self can do for others,” Cain said. “Now you’re prepared. You’ve been through the drug program and now you can help others, you can help others in your family, but you’ve got to help others by not reverting back to where you were, go forward.”

Judge Prentiss Harrell presides over the program, and he said he loves to see the parents doing better for their kids.

“My favorite part is child unification with their mother or having drug free babies or having been better parents for the children to build a better society, and I think that is positive and I think we see that,” Harrell said. “We had four drug free babies born into this, which is monumental.”

Harrell said the program started in 2007 and has been very successful and progressive to society since.

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