JACKSBORO, TN. (WLAF)-Friday was a significant day for the Eighth Judicial District Recovery Court.
The court held one of its largest graduation ceremonies with 10 graduates being given a second a chance at life.
“This culmination ranks as one of our largest in terms of number of graduates. The graduates came from four counties and various walks of life,” said Shayne Sexton, eighth judicial district criminal court and recovery court judge.
Recovery courts exist to help those who battle addictions get sober and take control of their lives. The Eight Judicial District Recovery Court has been doing this for 14 years.
While taking part in the court offers addicts an opportunity to get and stay clean, it also supports them as they dissect how their lives spiraled out of control. There is therapy, drug screens, mentoring, accountability and praise for the ones who are selected for the court. There are also sanctions when the guidelines of the court are violated.
And when the successful ones graduate, the recovery court team celebrates their achievements by inviting the graduate’s friends and families to the ceremony.
“It was a pleasure to see the reuniting of families in the courtroom,” Sexton said. “We had grandparents, parents, siblings, and children present, all witnessing the successful conclusion of a life-changing program that resulted from each graduate’s dedication and commitment.”
The graduates were: Kenny Wallace, Campbell County; Elizabeth Cosby, Claiborne; Tammy Ross, Campbell; Summer Holt, Claiborne; Tyler “Chase” Dye, Claiborne; Fallon Thacker, Claiborne; Wanda Madison, Campbell; Jamie Jones, Campbell; Maggie “Shay” Kennedy, Campbell; and Patti Handley, Scott.
All of the graduates completed a residential sober living program and are now employed.
They also have goals for their lives. From wanting to own their own business to rebuilding broken relationships the graduates now have hope, something they lost during their addiction battles.
Being homeless and unemployed was Jones’ life prior to recovery court. When he wasn’t in jail, he was running from his probation officer, he said. Today, he has a home, a job and family he can count on. While a marriage, new house and truck were once out of reach, those are the things Jones can now see himself having.
Madison has been sober for 28 months. She has her own apartment, a job in management at McDonald’s and a stable life.
“I’m so proud of the work the graduates put into their recovery and the recovery court team has great confidence in the future of each one of them,” Sexton said.
Also in attendance were members of the legal community. Eighth Judicial District Attorney Jared Effler and Eighth Judicial District Public Defender Leif Jeffers along with members of their staffs and Dennis Bailey, the attorney for one of the graduates, attended Friday’s ceremony.
“I personally and professionally appreciate them. Without their recognizing the importance of recovery in reducing criminal behavior, this program would not succeed,” Sexton said. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED- 2/19/20- 6AM)