A happy courtroom in Yankton County


YANKTON, S.D. (KELO) — Courtrooms are usually very serious and tense, but today in the Yankton County Courthouse there was a more cheerful tone.

Jacob Sudbeck started using drugs when he was 12 years old. Today, he’s 21 and is turning his life around as he graduates from drug court.

“It’s definitely worth it. I get to spend time with my kid he’s going to be two, on the 29th of this month. So, teaching him how to fish and stuff is always fun,” Jacob Sudbeck said.

Participants are required to attend support group meetings, find a job, pay financial obligations, and have regular drug tests in order to stay in the program.

“It helps drug offenders learn and understand their addiction, and then, more importantly, treat their addiction. They attend intense treatment sessions and then they’re also intensively supervised on the court side of things,” Judge Kasey Sorensen said.

The program requires a lot of time and effort and isn’t for everyone.

“If they don’t want it, they probably shouldn’t, but if you’re ready to quit it’d be a very good program to do,”Jacob Sudbeck said.

Today’s four graduates have more than 1,700 days of sobriety together, but Judge Sorensen says there’s a more to it than just helping people stay clean.

“Because we all rise when we stand together to fight addiction. When we help just one person there’s a ripple effect to that. So we’re not just helping that one individual, we’re helping the children that they have. We’re helping the spouse or significant other that they have. This person is becoming an active member in our community, and that’s why it’s positive,” Kasey Sorensen said.

Sudbeck says he is seeing that ripple effect in his life as well.

“I’m just going to keep working, spending time with my family, and fishing,” Jacob Sudbeck said.

Judge Sorensen says this is the 12th graduation for the Yankton Drug Court.

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