On Friday, September 16, 2022, the Recovery Court for Rutherford and Cannon Counties held a graduation at the Judicial Center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Circuit Court Judge Jimmy Turner and Recovery Court Director LaChelle Ricks presented six graduates that recently completed the intensive, court monitored rehabilitation program. Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton addressed the graduates and those in attendance.
Director Ricks told the audience, which was filled with county leaders, legislators, and the families of the graduates, “I am so proud of all the graduates for getting to this moment. You deserve this.” She reminded the participants that their hard work created the change in their lives. Director Ricks exclaimed the participants as “heroes because they each chose to live another day.”
Speaker Sexton spoke to the participants and their families with the keynote address. He said, “Addiction is not a stigma on you as a person. We all have things we struggle with. Although you will carry your addiction for the rest of your life, you now have the opportunity to go out and help others.” He encouraged the graduates to rely upon their faith and to seek wisdom in the scripture when they experience difficult times.
The daily per person cost of the Recovery Court in Rutherford County is approximately one-half the daily cost to incarcerate an individual in the local detention center. It is strictly intended to help non-violent offenders with severe substance abuse addiction. When a participant graduates, they are able to positively contribute to the community, the economy, and, most importantly, to their family. Each graduate was given the opportunity to share their story of recovery and the life-changing impact that the program produced.
“This program improves the lives of the participants in every aspect: mentally, physically, emotionally, financially and spiritually. They enter this program in very dire circumstances, many times homeless and helpless,” stated Judge Jimmy Turner. “Our graduates have worked hard to turn their lives around, and the community is better for it.”
Tennessee Department of Corrections Commissioner Lisa Helton was also in attendance. She closed the program by telling the graduates that she was inspired by their redemptive stories. “We are happy to see the success of programs like these that allow each of you to live fulfilling lives,” she told the graduates.
The Recovery Court for the 16th Judicial District holds a graduation on a revolving basis. The next graduation is anticipated to be held in January 2023.
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