Adult Treatment Court Holds Graduation

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The Prince William County Adult Treatment Court, established in July 2022, is a collaboration among area agencies working together to help people with substance use disorders who are facing felony charges stay out of jail, improve relationships and be contributing members of the community.

Participants in the program can have their sentences reduced or even dismissed upon completing the program with phases that require them to attain sobriety, acquire stable housing, secure and keep employment, shift to more functional thinking patterns and behavior, participate in restorative activities, and more.

Alexis Laplace, a recent graduate of the Adult Treatment Court program, found herself in a “downward spiral” because of drug use and faced felony charges before she was admitted to the program.

“Getting accepted into this program was not easy, and I had to fight to be where I am today,” Laplace said during her recent graduation ceremony in Judge Kimberly Irving’s courtroom. ”I had to prove to the court and myself that I was capable of completing the intensive nature of this program. I am proud to be here and to say that I have successfully completed the Prince William County Drug Court.”

Laplace said she was thankful for the backing of her support system of family and friends and the program team, which includes the 31st Judicial Circuit Court, the Community Services Board, the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office, the Office of the Public Defender, probation and parole, Criminal Justice Services, the Sheriff’s Office and the Adult Detention Center, as well as the Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park police departments.  

“Being part of this program has helped me grow, gain structure and self-respect, maintain healthy relationships, maintain my sobriety; and it taught me the importance of being held accountable for my actions. I have learned to love myself again and love the person I have become. I am grateful for the opportunity I had to be in this program. Thank you again to everyone in this program who has supported me through this entire process,” Laplace said.

“Drug court came about because of so many people working together, and it’s working,” Irving said. “This is not easy… Our participants do intensive out-patient treatment, residential treatment, individual therapy. They do group therapy. They do medically assisted treatment, and they see a probation officer. They have random urine screens. This can go on for over a year. All of the praise goes to the participants who have decided to put their faith into the work. It is with everybody’s support that we’ve been able to get this program off the ground and successful.”

Lisa Bell, a drug treatment court graduate and now a peer support specialist, gave the keynote address at the graduation. She recognized the work participants need to put into the program to be successful. She also recognized the wrap-around services the program offers.

“It was the most difficult thing I ever completed. Not because of the physical effort, but because I had to look inside myself, like we all do in recovery, and see what I had been avoiding most of my life,” Bell said. “Although it was the most difficult thing I have ever encountered, it was the most rewarding. I have a life that is beyond my wildest dreams today,”  

Bell offered Laplace words of encouragement.

“Alexis, congratulations on your hard work. Keep dreaming. Hold on to your why. Keep balance in your life and your future is going to be tremendous,”

Laplace participated in the program for well over a year, according to Senior Probation-Pretrial Officer of Criminal Justice Services Christopher Mayers, who said she was a stellar example of how someone can beat the odds, turn their lives around, go from felony charges to becoming a productive member of society.

James Talley of the Office of the Public Defender requested that Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Alexander Brandler move to dismiss Laplace’s charges.

“She agreed to take a leap of faith and to enter into our… brand-new drug court program,” Brandler said. “As a result of her hard work and dedication and her continued effort over those 539 days, I have the honor of moving to amend her charges.”

Irving accepted the motion.

“I couldn’t be happier to dismiss her charges,” Irving told the audience of partners, court staff, friends and family who filled her courtroom.

People interested in the Adult Treatment Court can contact Mayers at [email protected].

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