SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - It wasn't your typical graduation. First, it happened at the Caddo Parish Courthouse, and second, it was for former drug users, all completing the Enhanced Treatment Program for drug offenders.
The ceremony had all the elements of a graduation. But for the six graduates, they're celebrating their move away from a world of drugs.
"It's a four-phased program and once they get into phase one, they have group meetings individual meetings, individual counseling and they come to court once every week or so," said Retired Judge Charles Scott.
Program Coordinator Cecelia Garciau said, "We have them for so long, we really do get to know them very well. "
The former users are encouraged to remain productive throughout the program, instead of sitting in jail. The six graduates admit it wasn't easy. "The things they've worked for we feel it as well, and we feel proud for them," Garciau said.
Only nonviolent offenders get to enter the program. It's described as a very tough program, but the graduates get to be recognized at the very place they were convicted, inside of a courtroom, in front of a judge.
"It recognized as a culmination of a court case, because these are court cases," Scott said.
It also recognizes hard work. Judge Scott was there when they entered the legal process. Now retired, he wanted to be there for this special graduation."It means a lot to me, to see the successes in the program. This program has helped save some lives," he said.