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Angeles County | Community News File / Inglewood

Graduation Held for 12 in Drug Court

January 10, 1998

The Inglewood Municipal Court held its first graduation ceremony Friday for 12 participants in a countywide program known as Drug Court.

Sponsored through a U.S. Justice Department grant, the program sentences addicts to treatment programs instead of time behind bars.

Friday's graduation marked the end of an intensive eight-month program in which nonviolent drug users underwent routine drug testing, group therapy, daily 12-step meetings and job training.

The eight men and four women graduates also had their felony criminal records erased. To qualify, participants must have an open charge of felony possession of drugs, but not for possession to sell or trafficking in controlled substances.

Once the participants are screened by the probation department, they are referred to Drug Court, presided over by Inglewood Municipal Court Commissioner Deborah Christian.

"One lady who graduated said she had been on drugs for 34 years," Christian said. "Another participant had been on drugs for 20 years and another for 16 years. Countywide the success rate of the program is 85%."

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