NASHVILLE – The last time these men and women were in a courtroom, they were about to be sent to prison. Instead, they were given a second chance to turn their lives around. Eight participants, ordered to complete the Murfreesboro Day Reporting Center (DRC) program as an alternative to incarceration, celebrated their graduation today at the Rutherford County Circuit Court.
Graduation from the DRC marks the completion of the three-phase, intensive outpatient substance abuse treatment program, focused on assisting offenders as they work towards becoming productive citizens in their communities.
Rutherford County Chancellor Howard Wilson, who continues to be an avid supporter of the program, delivered the keynote speech. ”Their commitment to this program is inspiring, and the fact they are graduating today is a testament to their hard work and resolve to beat their addiction,” he said. “As a judge in this county, I see the devastating cost of addiction. But I’ve seen over and over again, that because of this program – lives are changing.”
Destinee Stratton has been a participant at the DRC since 2021. Three months into starting the program, she found out she was pregnant with her first child. Through hard work, perseverance, and the support of the DRC, Destinee has since moved into a new home, started a full time job, connected with assistance programs to help her on her journey, and had a healthy baby boy.
“Thanks to this program, all of these amazing things that happened wouldn’t have if I was still in my addiction,” Destinee said. “I want to thank every single person that has helped me through this journey of recovery. I will continue to use everything that I learned at the DRC every day. If it wasn’t for this program, I probably wouldn’t be alive, so I thank all of you for helping me save my life.”
Today, Destinee celebrated being sober for 2 years and 18 days.
The Tennessee Department of Correction implemented DRC’s as part of the 2016 Public Safety Act. Services provided through the DRC include cognitive behavioral therapy, group and individual counseling, participation in community service, and job readiness courses to name a few.