Graduation held for drug court

Published 6:45 pm Saturday, May 6, 2017

The Dallas County Courthouse was filled with the sound of applause Friday afternoon as 18 people got a second chance at life by graduating from drug court.

It’s a program offered by Dallas County Court Services to help people with drug and alcohol problems.

Each graduate was presented a plaque and given the spotlight, as they were showered with applause.

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Miah Jackson, executive director for Dallas County Court Services, oversees the program and makes sure everyone is steered in the right direction by motivating them and encouraging them along the way.

“The first day you see them they’re not happy, they’re not smiling. They don’t want to see you, but to see this day, it all comes to fruition. It makes it all worthwhile,” she said. “It can be a very difficult program and a very challenging program. It’s intended to be that way, so that it will help them long term.”

People can be in the program anywhere from six months up to two years, varying by each individual. Dallas County has had the program here since 2009.

“They have to complete certain goals, complete treatment, go to evaluations and doctor’s appointments,” Jackson said. “We’re excited to have something like this in Dallas County.”

Retired Alabama Supreme Court Justice Sue Bell Cobb, who helped implement the drug court program across the state, was the keynote speaker.

“It’s just so rewarding to know that I’ve been some small part in making this opportunity for them, but they’ve done the hard work,” Cobb said. “It just says again to me that we do right when we are really helping people be what God wanted them to be when God put them on earth, and that’s what drug court does. It gives them the ability, the support, the help.”

Cobb said before drug court judges would sentence offenders and send them on their way, but this program helps make sure people don’t become reoffenders.

“You’ve got a district attorney that believes in it, and not all of them do because it takes more time and trouble. They want more headlines of we locked this person up,” she said.

“A real district attorney is going to say we work to help that person not reoffend. Not reoffending, that’s when we’re making everybody safer.”

Cobb said the program helps make a difference in their lives rather than just punishing them and sending them out on their own.

“Drug court epitomizes my favorite thing to say, which is it is so much more important to fix people than just fill prison,” she said. “The reason is that we know drugs and mental health issues are the problem, and people resort to drugs, alcohol and other substances. We know that if that’s the problem, let’s fix it.”

Cobb said a large percentage of people that go through the drug court program succeed after graduating the program.