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The term commencement is used verses graduation because at this point in a participant’s program they are celebrating a new beginning, a start of a healthier lifestyle where as graduation acknowledges a completion, or ending.

Participants in Phase III who have met all program requirements are eligible to be considered for ending their Drug Court involvement and beginning a life in the community without the heavy supervision of Drug Court.

The first step in applying for commencement involves the participant completing an “application for graduation”.

In addition to completing the “application for graduation”, the participant must also complete the following:

  1. A GED or other assigned educational requirement
  2. 6 months leading up to commencement of consistent and gainful employment
  3. 6 months up to commencement of consistently negative urinalyses reports, no no-shows (not showing up to random drug screening appointments),
  4. Substance abuse treatment and Drug Court identified support groups.
  5. Payment of all fees, fines and restitution.
  6. A valid driver’s license.
  7. A criminal record check. A participant cannot commence if he/she has pending charges, other than Drug Court offense; or if he/she was convicted of new offense for which the Douglas County Attorney determines he/she should be terminated from the Drug Court.
  8. Appearances in Drug Court and the Drug Court office as required by the program.
  9. 25 hours of phase III community service work has been completed
  10. Participant has spent at least three-months in phase III status prior commencement ceremony.

The Drug Court case review team meets to determine eligibility for graduates. For many participants, it is the first time they have been rewarded for positive achievements.

The commencement ceremony consists of recognition of dignitaries, a keynote speech by a local or national politician or former graduate; personal comments by the commencing participants; presentation of certificates, medallions and formal dismissals of felony charges. The ceremony is followed by refreshments and fellowship between those commencing and invitees.

Commencement ceremonies are held quarterly in the months of March, June, September and December.

 

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