Thursday morning, six individuals and their families gathered at the Peoria County Courthouse for a special ceremony that marked the end of a program in which students learned how to stay out of the criminal justice system.
“We have a lot of success stories in our program. We’ve had individuals who have been unable to remain sober for over 20 years, have six or seven months of sobriety which is a big deal for them,” said Tiffanie Duncan, problem solving coordinator for Peoria County.
The Peoria County Problem Solving court held its third graduation in its DUI court program.
“Some of the things that we’re looking at for the individual is trying to meet them where they’re at when they come into the program. Some of them had not had a good support system. Some of them are struggling with having good safe housing. Some have not actually had the treatment that they need. So then this program really looks at meeting their needs so that they can be successful in the program,” said Lisa Wilson, Associate Judge at 10th Judicial Circuit in Peoria County.
Their goal is to keep students from re-offending and give them tools to help the community. One of the six graduates says this program changed her life.
“I had a really bad anger problem and now when situations happens, it catches me off guard because I’m like, I’m not even really mad. I’m able to handle situations that definitely before would take me back out to drink or drug and I can handle them now in more appropriate ways,” said Lisa Holt, program graduate.
A former graduate said she has been able to stay sober for two years now ever since she completed the program.
“I’ve grown up a lot. I handle stress so much better in chaos and crisis. There isn’t as much chaos and crisis in my life anymore,” said Kim Ladd, former graduate.
Ladd also said that if it wasn’t for this program she might be in prison right now.