In celebration of National Drug Court Month, Montgomery County Juvenile Court held a graduation ceremony celebrating youth who have successfully overcome drug and alcohol abuse.
National Drug Court Month is coordinated on a National level by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP). This year, Drug Courts throughout the nation are celebrating National Drug Court Month with the theme ‘Drug Courts: Where Accountability Meets Compassion.’ This uplifting commencement ceremony is evidence of the tremendous impact the Montgomery County Juvenile Drug Court has had on our community and will send a powerful message that Drug Courts are a proven budget solution that saves lives and dollars.
Like the other 2,700 operational Drug Courts in the United States, the Montgomery County Juvenile Drug Court is a judicially-supervised court docket that reduces correctional costs, protects community safety, and improves public welfare. In Drug Court, seriously drug-addicted individuals remain in treatment while under close supervision. Drug Court participants must meet their obligation to themselves, their families, and society. To ensure accountability, they are regularly and randomly tested for drug use, required to appear frequently in court for the judge to review their progress, rewarded for doing well and sanctioned for not living up to their obligations. Research continues to show that Drug Courts work better than jail or prison, better than probation, and better than treatment alone.
Fifteen young men and women were among this year’s graduates. The ceremony marked their completion of an intensive program of comprehensive drug treatment, case management, mandatory drug testing, community supervision and incentives and sanctions to encourage appropriate behavior.
Actor Vincent M. Ward II, a Trotwood-Madison High School graduate who is on television shows and movies including The Walking Dead, True Blood, and Ocean’s Eleven, was the keynote speaker. Ward told staff, parents and the graduates that “Life is about choices. Rise and grind every day. Every day.”
Two of the youth from the graduating class provided inspirational testimonies. “During the time I was in Drug Court, sobriety motivated me to do a lot of positive things. And in return build a relationship with my father one more time," one drug court graduate told us.
Our graduates all have their own unique story. They tell of varying circumstances that led them to Drug Treatment Court and varying successes since their graduation. But they all share a common gratitude toward the staff and volunteers who gave them a second chance.
Congratulations to all of the graduates!
Michelle L. White is the Project Director for Reclaiming Futures, Montgomery County, Ohio. Michelle has worked in the justice arena her entire career. She began her career with Montgomery County Juvenile Court ten years ago as a Probation Officer. Throughout her tenure with the Court, Michelle has served as a Gender Specific Probation Officer and as the Intensive Probation Supervisor. Michelle is very passionate about working with families, volunteers and the community. She has been involved with the Reclaiming Futures movement in Dayton throughout her time with the Court. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.