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Allen County Superior Court holds 55th Drug Court graduation

One Drug Court graduate walks down the receiving line, shaking hands and giving hugs, with her baby in her arms and her daughter following on Monday, December 11, 2023.
Ella Abbott
/
WBOI News
One Drug Court graduate walks down the receiving line, shaking hands and giving hugs, with her baby in her arms and her daughter following on Monday, December 11, 2023.

Allen County Superior Court’s Drug Court program hosted its 55th graduation Monday, celebrating nearly 40 participants who are leaving the program sober and, for many, with charges dismissed or lessened.

Family and friends of the graduates and supporters of the program packed Courtroom 1 in the Allen County Courthouse to congratulate the graduates of its Drug Court program.

Drug Court is one of several problem solving courts Allen County offers to help address the root causes of why people end up in jail. Participants in the program work to become sober and stick to their recovery over several months, with support of the court system, and in return many have their cases dismissed or felonies reduced to a misdemeanor.

Connor Thornton is one of the graduates being honored. His family showed up to support him as he received a graduate certificate and a gift bag from the court.

“You know, this has built me a foundation in my life, it’s given me structure," he said. "It’s kind of given me hope in a sense. I’m looking forward to the next step and where this takes me.”

Allen County Superior Court Judge Fran Gull presides over the court and encourages graduates to stay in touch with their case managers and continue to utilize resources the program offers them.

The 37 graduates range in age from 20 to 59 and most spent about a year and a half in the program. In this graduating group, three babies were born during the program, all of whom came to the courthouse to see their parent graduate.

Ella Abbott is a multimedia reporter for 89.1 WBOI. She is a strong believer in the ways audio storytelling can engage an audience and create a sensory experience.