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The original item was published from 4/24/2013 3:47:49 PM to 4/24/2013 4:19:53 PM.

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Posted on: April 24, 2013

[ARCHIVED] HIDALGO COUNTY DRUG COURT HOLDS GRADUATION CEREMONY

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On Tuesday, April 23, the Hidalgo County Community Supervision and Corrections Department hosted its inaugural Drug Court Graduation Ceremony. 92nd District Court Judge Ricardo Rodriguez, who oversees the program, welcomed the participants, past graduates and their families, along with special guests, to celebrate their successful completion of the program.

The ceremony celebrated the achievement of current participants who advanced in phases within the program, those participants who graduated from the program and it also recognized former drug court graduates. Among the speakers at the ceremony were Edinburg Mayor Richard Garcia, Judge Aida Salinas-Flores and County Judge Assistant Chief Administrator Jaime Longoria. There were also moving speeches by a former drug court participant and a current drug court participant, whom each highlighted the positive impact the Drug Court program has had on their lives, and where they would be if they never received the opportunity to enter into the program. They encouraged the current participants to keep working hard and continue to strive to achieve their goals.

Hidalgo County’s drug court began in 2004, and is a multi-faceted approach at rehabilitation. The comprehensive rehabilitation program was designed for first-time offenders who meet certain criteria related to substance use. Participants are selected based on the recommendations by district court judges, and have been determined to be responsive to treatment with a non-violent offense. Participants undergo intense individual and group counseling with licensed chemical dependency counselors, are tested for substances on a regular basis, frequently meet with probation officers and case managers, and are seen bi-weekly in a group setting at the Judge’s court. While the drug court provides swift sanctions to those who relapse while in the program, the incentive for staying on-track is high – participants may have their cases dismissed upon successful completion of the 18-month program.

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