Inmates graduate treatment program
by Paisley Boston
Feb 26, 2014 | 2165 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Judge Al Smith
Judge Al Smith
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The Bolivar County Regional Correctional Facility held a graduation ceremony for individuals who completed the facility's Alcohol and Drug Treatment Program.

Judge Al Smith III offered words of encouragement to the 12 graduates and said he does not want to see any of them come before him in court.

"The alcohol and drug treatment staff have given you the necessary tools and now it is up to you to use them. The cornerstone that you have to recognize is that sometimes life becomes unmanageable and when things get to be this way, you should just fall to your knees and pray," said Smith.

Smith, a Cleveland native, practiced law for many years before being elected as Bolivar County Prosecuting Attorney.

He held that office for 13 years before being appointed to the bench in 2000.

He is a member of First Baptist Church of Cleveland, the Cleveland Chapter of the Gideons and the Exchange Club of Cleveland.

Smith told the graduates one of the most important aspects that they need to remember is when to seek God for guidance.

"Life is a dilemma and the tools of this program are things that can help you stay drug free and out of trouble. I know people who have gone through the 12 steps and now they are back doing the same things. You need to surround yourself with people that mean you well," he added.

"There are people out there that care about your success and they want to see you achieve your goals," continued Smith.

According to Smith, when individuals come to drug court, they are unable to trust others because they have been wronged.

"One thing that we have to do is forgive those who have harmed us and in some cases we are the most harmful to ourselves. The program teaches you how to trust people again and how to love yourself," he added.

The program is comprised of 12 steps with individual and group counseling sessions.

The concepts of the program include spiritual enlightenment and enhancement, drug and education, relapse prevention, anger and stress management and basic life skills.

The program also includes an intensive Aftercare Pre-Release educational course.

"In the Aftercare Pre-Release course we help individuals prepare for life outside of these walls. We help them do resumes, they learn how to write checks and we conduct mock interviews for them," said Assistant Alcohol and Drug Director Regina Fair.

According to Fair, the graduates have gone through six months of rigorous activity and she hopes each one of them is able to make good decisions when they are released.

"People may not realize it but the smallest situation could arise and cause you to relapse. I want you all to have will power and I want you to also know your worth," she added.

Smith said once the graduates are released they should find them a church to attend regularly and read the bible as often as possible.

"I consider my bible to be my owner's manual. Whenever I find myself in a tough spot, I just read the instructions," he continued.

"You must always try to maintain some kind of equilibrium in your life and regardless of any situation that you are in please look to God for help and understanding," said Smith.