I had the honor and the pleasure to attend the Brooklyn Treatment Court (BTC) Dismissal Calender Graduation on Thursday December 9, 2010 in Brooklyn, New York. On that date the Honorable Jo Ann Ferdinand, the presiding Judge of the court since its inception in 1996 was the master of ceremonies as the Project Director Joseph Madonia and his staff announced the graduates, thirty seven in all.
Several of the graduates described their unique journeys to the audience of family members, friends, BTC staffers, representatives of sponsoring agencies, lawyers and court personnel. Each of the graduates had been arrested for narcotics crimes and demonstrated a need and a desire to become sober and productive. Each of the graduates went through detoxification, counseling, some inpatient, some outpatient treatment, community service, some participated in a book circle others were on the BTC basketball team, on going drug screening and updates to the judge by the caring and tough BTC case managers.
Not all the journeys were smooth, but the case managers did not give up on anyone. In the end all thirty seven participants reclaimed their health, their families, their self respect the respect of the judge and had their cases dismissed and sealed as a reward for their enormous efforts. They were no longer defendants but active and healthy members of society.
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