Raleigh County Drug Court graduates first class - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Raleigh County Drug Court graduates first class

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BECKLEY, W.Va. (WVVA) Raleigh County Drug Court celebrated their first graduation on Thursday. 

The program started in Raleigh County in March of 2017, as a requirement of the West Virginia Supreme Court. 

Instead of a prison sentence, participants were instead offered a second change. Through a rigorous course of counseling, drug testing, and treatment, graduates who complete the program are given an opportunity to wipe felony off of their criminal record. 

"It's one thing to wake up scared because you've got this awful future coming at you, like a train on the tracks, but it's something else to develop the daily strength that it takes to avoid that. So that one thing may be the initial incentive, but what got themselves there was themselves," said Judge Robert Burnside, who has presided over the drug court. 

West Virginia Supreme Court organizer Sean Noland said only half of the program participants usually make it through to graduation day, and of those graduates, only ten percent end up back in the court system.

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