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Drug Court Graduates Begin New Life

December 19, 2012, 12:18 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Drug Court Graduates Begin New Life
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

Two drug offenders who faced prison time are celebrating their sobriety. Wednesday morning those offenders officially graduated from the Drug Court Program in Sioux Falls.

Drug court is for offenders who have been in and out of the system several times and face prison time.  It requires those people to make weekly court appearances and get treatment and counseling.  If they miss any of their appointments or fail any tests, they have to do community service or go to jail.

The graduates have been sober for more than two years and now have steady jobs and are reconnecting with their families.

Judge Pat Riepel leads the Sioux Falls program.

"Their thinking is changing. They are becoming productive members of society. From a judge's perspective being in the business 30 years, this is a huge accomplishment being able to see these people get their lives together and make a difference in this community, a positive difference," Riepel said.

Tonight on KELOLAND News we'll talk with the two graduates and tell you why one says the program literally saved her life.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
A misspelling was corrected in this story.

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