Seven graduate from the Cass County Drug Court Program

Cass County held a graduation ceremony for seven individuals who graduated from the Cass County Drug Court Program.
The ceremony was on May 23 at the historical Linden Courthouse in Linden, Texas in the historic courtroom. 
This is the largest group of individuals to graduate from the 18 month drug rehabilitation program. 
The Cass County Drug Court officially started in June of 2010 and has been in continuous operation for the past eight years. 
More than 80 offenders have graduated from the program which now lasts 18 months.
The drug court uses intensive random testing for substances to monitor the person’s use; required court appearances before the drug court judge every two weeks; rewards and sanctions; and extensive counseling through the licensed professional counselor who is part of the program and who specializes in treating those with addiction.
Judge Donald Dowd spoke to the audience about the drug court program and how proud he is of the graduates. 
“Its hard for me to tell you how proud I am of these graduates, I get to know them more than I get to know any other person that comes before my court. I know all of them personally because I get to talk to them every two weeks whether they want to or not,” said Judge Dowd. 
“We encourage them one way or another – sometimes it takes a sanction, sometimes it takes a reward.’
“These seven graduates have endured the lengthening of our program.’
“Each one of these persons you see sitting before us came to us bearing a great weight and they were dragging the weight of addiction, the addictions of either drugs or alcohol
“I call addiction the great destroyer. It is a destroyer of all kinds of things and they have been taught that.’
“They were unable to do much about it until they got some help.’
“Addictions destroy families and I have seen this in the 13 or so years that I have been on the bench – I see it in all kinds of ways – I have seen persons come before the divorce court because one or both of them have an addiction that they can’t get a handle on or won’t get a handle on.’
“I see it in the Child Protective Services court where I have to take children away from their mothers and fathers because they are using illegal drugs in the home – they are not taking care of their children or are not able to because of the addiction.’
“I see it when it leads to criminal behavior and that is how unfortunately how all of graduates got to us here today – addiction leads to criminal behavior either in the way of actually using the drug itself or doing something to get money to buy the drugs,” said Judge Dowd.
Cass County is one of the few smaller counties who operate a drug court program in our area and other counties have visited the Cass County Drug Court and decided to begin their own program. 
The program is funded by a grant from Governor Greg Abbott  that the county has to qualify for each year and the court has been funded every year since it began by the grant.
“I could not operate this program without the help of my drug court team – Chief Probation Officer Catherine Betts Does a tremendous amount of the work in obtaining and satisfying the requirements of the grant,’
“Other essential team members are defense attorney Gary Albertson, Assistant District Attorney Nick Ross, law enforcement officer Bill Lawrence, treatment provider Deborah James, Mental Health Coordinator Raphaelle Huckaby and probation officer David Rodgers,” said Judge Dowd. 
Over the past eight years the team has obtained extensive training from the United States Department of Justice, the National Association of Drug Court Professionals and the Texas Association of Drug Court Professionals. 
The drug court team will attend the National Association of Drug Court Professionals in June to further their training. 

Cass County Now

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