OXFORD, Miss. (WCBI) – It was a full house at the Lafayette County Courthouse in Oxford this afternoon as many smiling faces walked to receive their drug court certificates of completion.
“You gotta want to be clean, you gotta want to live right. You got to want to be a good person,” said graduate Patricia Yancey.
“I am now a law abiding citizen and I actually contribute to my community,” added graduate Misty Haimes.
Graduate Misty Haimes stood up strong in front of a crowd of family, friends, and fellow graduates as she talked about how far she has come since the day she agreed to join the program. She says the biggest obstacle was herself.
“My entire life is totally different , I have a whole new set of people that I talk to, I’m closer with my family, I work everyday. It’s just a whole new life and I like it,” said Haimes.
Graduates come from all over North Mississippi and it will be the largest group since the program began in 2008. Circuit Judge Andrew Howorth says the program has been very successful.
“I tell them when they come in I have no attachment for them, they’re just a name and a case number but by the time they’ve gotten through, there’s not been one that’s graduated from the program that I didn’t hold in high regard,” said Circuit Judge Andrew Howorth.
It’s been a journey for the 21 graduates, facing the hardest obstacles of there lives but it’s a journey they say will change them for the rest of their lives.
Drug courts offer a chance to remain out of jail and and keep a job. Participates are put through random drug testing and frequent court appearances.
“It will get you on the right track if you want to be on the right track, you got to want this. I didn’t think I’d ever get off it but now I’ve just gone and hit myself upside the head, I think how stupid I was to go that far down that road to take so much of me,” added Yancey.
The program takes three years to complete under Drug Court Supervision.
Mississippi currently has 44 drug courts and more than 33 hundred people are enrolled in them statewide.