EUGENE, Ore. – A special graduating class got a second chance at life by starting with a clean slate.
The graduates are men and women who have experienced some form of alcohol or drug addiction.
Joe Vigil, the assistant coordinator of the Lane County Treatment Court, said the program is designed to help them overcome the abuse of alcohol and other drug and related criminal activity.
“They got to a point in their life, where they hit rock bottom,” Vigil said. “Being involved with the criminal justice system afforded them the opportunity to do our program... which allowed them to get out of the situation they were in.”
Vigil said program is 15 to 18 months long and teaches graduates discipline and accountability. He said it also provides mentorship, support and volunteer opportunities for the graduates.
On Friday, each graduate celebrated their new life and left behind the stigma of their past.
Vigil said the program also helps ensure public safety and offers graduates an alternative to the criminal justice system.
“Once they’ve completed this program, sometimes it’s the first thing they’ve actually successfully followed through with in their life,” he said. “Often they end up going to school, to get degrees, starting families and being all around successful.”
Vigil said graduation marks a huge milestone in graduates lives because their charges are dismissed, they no longer have to be on probation or supervised, and they no longer have to report to a judge.