VIDEO HERE: Eleven graduate from treatment court

LEWISBURG – Eleven graduates were recognized Wednesday at the 17th Judicial District Treatment Court graduation ceremony.  Held at the Union County Courthouse, men and women from Snyder and Union Counties graduated from the yearlong program.

Though the year can be grueling, with ups and downs, graduates, like Ashley Bowersox of McClure, say the time is worth it.  “I enjoy being sober.  I did not have the tools back then to know how to gain sobriety, but now that they have given me that, I do not want to lose it.  If I do have a doubt in my mind, I just go back to where I came from and look how far I have come.”

The treatment court is a highly structured program that combines drug and alcohol treatment and support through court supervision.   All participants are also required to complete community service.

“Is this program perfect? No.  Does everyone who we admit to the program graduate? No. Is it better than jail? You bet,” says Senior Judge Harold Woelfel Jr.  “When I talk to people that have graduated and I see what they are doing and how happy they are, you can’t beat this.”

Woelfel says it can cost in excess of $30,000 to put an offender in jail, as opposed to this treatment program, which costs $3,000-$5,000 per individual.  He adds that since the inception in 2008, they have received over $1 million in grants to defray the cost of the treatment program. (Sara Bartlett)


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