Recovery Court Graduates Celebrate a New Beginning

Two adults along with their families, friends and mentors, gathered Tuesday, January 24, 2017 to celebrate their graduation from the DeKalb County Recovery Court program.
The observance was held at the county complex. The graduates Terra Goad and Clint Cope received plaques noting their completion of the recovery court program through which participants commit to becoming clean and sober.
The recovery court program provides an alternative to incarceration for eligible non-violent offenders, who are deemed substance dependent. General Sessions and Juvenile Court Judge Bratten Cook, II said, “Both graduates have been drug free for more than a year. We’re extremely proud of them. Both of them came to us straight from jail as most of our recovery court participants do so instead of the county spending some $18,000 or $20,000 a year each on our recovery court participants, in recovery court I think the figure is like $3,000 or $4,000 a year per person. It’s a win-win for everyone, said Judge Cook.”
“The adult program lasts a minimum of twelve months. The participant must have some kind of criminal charge (to participate in recovery court). No violent offenders can be in the program. They can come (into the program) through a variety of ways as far as a violation of probation or any kind of drug charge, theft charges, and things like that. Typically they are all facing a minimum of a year to serve so this program is an alternative to incarceration. I’ve heard the judge tell plenty of participants it’s a lot easier to just lay down there (jail) for a year and do their time and we make it very clear to them that it is easier. You can go down to the jail and get served three meals a day or you can get into this program and have a new chance at life. You can graduate like our graduates tonight who have over a year being sober and are working and having their children back and their lives restored. But there are a lot of things they have to do. A lot of the program teaches responsibility and teaches them the tools to stay sober. That’s really the benefit to the participants. Of course the benefit to the community is that it saves taxpayer dollars while making the community and its citizens safer,” said Norene Puckett, Program Coordinator.
The recovery court graduation program featured guest speaker Will Taylor as well as a recovery court graduate and current juvenile recovery court participant performing “God on the Mountain.” Taylor is a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist through the TN Dept. of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and works for Buffalo Valley in Castallian Springs as the Treatment Coordinator. He shared his personal story of recovery and offered encouragement and personal advice to participants and graduates. Taylor also conducts a weekly men’s group in Smithville at the Haven of Hope on Tuesday’s at 6:00pm for the recovery court program. This group is also available to any man in the county who would like to attend. For more information contact the recovery court office at 615-215-8690.
Recovery court team members who oversee the program locally in addition to Judge Cook and Recovery Court Coordinator Puckett are Sheriff Patrick Ray, Assistant District Attorney General Stephanie Johnson, John and Kay Quintero from Haven of Hope, primary treatment providers; Assistant Public Defender Scott Grissom, Probation Officer Jay Colton, Juvenile Case Manager Kristy Longmire, and Adult Case Manager Rhonda Harpole.

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