Family members and friends packed the the Old County Courthouse’s Ceremonial Courtroom Thursday afternoon to watch their loved ones graduate from the Kanawha County Drug Court.
Five individuals were part of this years graduating class from the drug rehabilitation program that is operated through the county court system.
It was a special moment for all graduates including Harold Battle.
“This is a celebration, it’s like a new life,” said Battle.
Battle said after all the crying, the breaking down and the sharing that went on between all the group members during the program, they have created a family.
The drug court took it’s first client in July 2009 and since then has had 38 individuals graduate from the program and begin a new life.
Battle said the program gave him a second chance.
“I developed two felonies in my drug use and I had got a third felony and I was due to get off probation real soon,” said Battle. “My probation officer and Judy Jones thought of this program that it might help me out called Drug Court. If I successfully completed the program, they wouldn’t prosecute me for my third felony.”
Battle said the year long program was tough, but now that he graduated from it he believes he can do anything.
Those who graduate from the program have a recidivism rate of 13.16%, far below the National Average.
Michal Raynes, another graduate, said despite being a nervous wreck the whole day leading up the ceremony, she was happy.
“It feels good. Feels good and I’m just going to keep moving forward,” said Raynes.
It was a long road to recovery for Raynes, but she had a great support group to help push her along.
“I have a wonderful supportive family and they have been there for me even when they probably shouldn’t of been,” said Raynes. “That makes all the difference.”
Raynes, along with the rest of the graduates said they have a lot of goals to accomplish and they are thankful the Drug Court has put them in a position to achieve those goals.
The Drug Court Program has had 162 clients enrolled in the program since it began and has saved $2,362,017 in jail costs as of December 31, 2012.