RUSSELL COUNTY, Va. - The Department of Justice doesn't just prosecute offenders; they also invest in crime prevention like drug courts, a 12-month-long program of intensive supervision, curfews and random drug screenings.
After one year of dedication they have a clean slate and a fresh start on a new life.
The Russell County drug court had three graduates Tuesday. One of them was Timothy Hess.
Hess says the program was a lot of hard work, but it was worth it. "If anybody wants to come in this program they have to want to quit before they can make it through," he told us.
All of Hess's charges will now be dismissed to help him move forward in his drug-free life, along with two other graduates, April Martin and Jessica Stiltner.
But how does drug court work? "Drug courts give them the life skills to change, to battle that motivator of addiction and finally turn that pattern from failure to success," said U.S. Attorney Western District of Virginia Timothy Heaphy.
Heaphy has been a prosecutor for years and he says this program is very important. "You see the same people come through the system again and again because they don't fix the underlying issue," he explained.
The graduates are ready for their fresh new start and their supporters are too. "I've seen her go through a lot the past two years and she's strong. If she puts her mind to something she can do it," said Jacki Eunley, mother of one of the graduates.
An announcement was also made at Tuesday's ceremony -- United Way Virginia Highlands is contributing a $10,000 grant to help support the Russell County's drug court. Click here to learn more about that story.