Addicts got a new life today at a unique graduation.
Four men graduated from the Northern Hill's Drug Court Tuesday. This program is what team members call a tough alternative to prison.
It requires its members to undergo frequent drug tests, provide for their families, and check in with team members.
Chief Justice David Gilbertson, who was the keynote speaker at the graduation, said this program aims to fix the main problem in an addict's life, the addiction itself. "These graduates have overcome that underlying addiction," said Gilbertson. "And the good news for the public is they will not have to support these people in a penitentiary."
Jesse Staley says this graduation lets him be a new person. "It means everything to me. It's the start of my new life," said Staley. "It's looking back on the old and realizing I don't have to live with it anymore, that's not me. Who I want to be is anything I can dream of, now it's within reach."
The Northern Hill's Drug Court is South Dakota's first speciality court, created in 2007.