Seven felony DUI court participants crossed the finish line to graduate from the rigorous program. The graduates discussed what helped them during their three-year (plus) journey and their after-care plan to ensure they continue their quest for life-long recovery. Family members came to show support and celebrate with cupcakes, certificates and photos. Two of the graduates who initially resisted the program, spoke about how they now realize it saved their lives. It was a sentiment share by all those who successfully completed the program and graduate.

“These graduations are very important,” said Judge Adriana Escobar, who presides over the felony DUI court. “Successful completion of this program is positive for the graduates, our community public safety and for the justice system. A tremendous amount of resources and money are saved by not having these participants revolving through the prison system.”

The felony DUI court is one of several specialty courts including: veterans’ court, mental health court, the OPEN program, drug court and dependency mothers’ drug court that have been proven to be a successful way to get people off substance abuse and on track to productive lives.

Specialty courts solve issues through a rigorous and coordinated approach between judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, Parole and Probation, law enforcement and mental health/social service/treatment professionals. All work together to help participants recover, live crime-free and become productive citizens. The National Association of Drug Court Professionals reports: “nationwide, 75 percent of drug court graduates remain arrest-free at least two years after leaving the program. Drug courts reduce crime as much as 35 percent more than other sentencing options.”