Two years ago, I launched a pilot program in the County to help give drug offenders with a sincere desire to be rehabilitated another chance to be fully contributing members of our community. Modeled after a successful program in San Francisco, our program was called "Back on Track," and participants would agree to plead guilty, but follow a strict program instead of doing jail time. They would attend Prince George's Community College (PGCC), participate in community service activities, and submit to regular screenings. After successfully completing the program, all charges would be expunged from their records.
I am so proud to report that yesterday, we held our first graduation ceremony for the program. Our inaugural class was small, but support was big -- from program partners including members of law enforcement, county government and the greater community. In addition to the two graduates, three current participants were also present, who will shortly begin a certification program at PGCC.
The mood at the event was overwhelmingly upbeat and positive, the highlight being the most critical aspect of the program for the graduates -- when Judge Lamasney expunged the participants' charges, giving them a fresh start at a productive life.
I continue to have faith in the human spirit and potential. With the support of the community, we can continue to move small hills -- and mountains.
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