2nd Drug Court Graduate ‘Changing the Story’


When Justin Brown first entered the New Leaf program, he noticed it as punishment.

When Justin Brown first entered the New Leaf program, he noticed it as punishment.

Because the second graduate of the drug court docket particular docket, Brown instructed his household, fellow program individuals, his remedy workforce and Widespread Pleas Court docket Choose Caroline Paschke that now — after 16 months working this system — he sees it as a possibility.

“I’m an lively member of society. I rise up, go to work each single day, you realize. I’m not searching for that subsequent repair,” Brown stated in the course of the commencement ceremony April 22 on the Geauga County Courthouse on Chardon Sq..

The particular court docket docket permits those that have been charged with felonies associated to drug use and have been recognized with a substance use dysfunction to make a voluntary, long-term dedication to a six-phase sobriety program lasting between 16 and 24 months.

This system is constructed round a remedy workforce that features representatives from Lake-Geauga Restoration Facilities, Ravenwood Psychological Well being Heart, the Geauga County Prosecutor’s Workplace, Geauga County Public Defender’s Workplace, Geauga County Sheriff’s Workplace, Household Pleasure, Northeast Ohio Neighborhood Various Program and Grownup Probation.

The workforce meets weekly in a collaborative setting to share progress and focus on rewards, penalties and modifications in remedy for individuals.

Paschke stated this system was a tough promote to these within the county who have been skeptical it could work or felt it was an “simple manner out” for legal offenders.

These sitting within the room final Thursday may inform critics this system shouldn’t be a simple manner out, she added.

“There’s a quote from C.S. Lewis that I shared with our individuals many instances and it goes as follows: ‘You possibly can’t return and alter the start, however you can begin the place you’re and alter the ending,’” Paschke stated. “To me, that’s what our program is about.”

Whereas she prefers to concentrate on the place individuals are as they make progress via this system and never the place they have been after they began, Paschke stated it’s necessary to acknowledge how far Brown has come since early troubles landed him in juvenile detention.

After being prescribed painkillers following an accident, Paschke stated Brown developed an opiate habit and finally started dealing heroin.

After a number of extra run-ins with the legislation and two overdoses, Brown ended 2019 in jail.

“From the start of 2020, which is once I actually met Justin, he demonstrated a dedication to our program,” Paschke stated. “Early on, he was right here and he adopted via on all of his commitments. He took a job firstly working nights in order that he may attend all of his drug court docket periods, all of his remedy periods and be obtainable for his drug screens. There have been days the place he confirmed up right here a bit of bleary-eyed, however he was right here. And he by no means complained and he was all the time diligent about fulfilling his obligations.”

Brown now has a union building job and is because of grow to be a dad very quickly, she added.

“I feel he embodies that C.S. Lewis quote that I acknowledged earlier. He’s beginning the place he was and he’s altering the story,” she stated.

Geauga County Commissioner Jim Dvorak — who spoke on the commencement of Paschke’s first participant, Tom Clemens, final month in regards to the impression of habit on his household that features the lack of his daughter, Jamie Maire — reiterated the county’s assist for this system with a decision honoring Paschke.

After providing a prayer, Dvorak recounted a childhood through which his mom struggled with habit, including he and Brown have quite a bit in frequent, together with work in union trades.

Dvorak, who turned a instructor after working as a union bricklayer, inspired Brown to take part in security packages on the job web site as a result of everybody desires him to come back house safely to his household.

“Within the spring time, or any time you see orange barrels, most individuals gripe and complain, ‘Oh jeez, they’re engaged on the roads, I’ve to take a detour’ and the whole lot else, however now let’s flip that round,” Dvorak stated. “While you see the orange barrels, know that Justin’s working and all his household is working — his brothers and sisters in fraternal group of (Laborers’ Native) 860. So whenever you see these barrels, consider Justin and you realize he’s working.”

Members of his remedy workforce lauded Brown, together with probation officer Greg Potts, who stated Brown talked about he didn’t need a massive celebration for his commencement. Potts joked he known as to cancel the fireworks present he had deliberate.
“There was a band that was purported to be enjoying exterior,” he quipped. “They bought cancelled and I didn’t get my deposit again, however that’s okay. That’s okay! We love to do issues as massive as potential as a result of you’ve completed one thing that’s big.”

John Dorsey, who supplied peer assist via Ravenwood Well being in the course of the six-phase program, stated Brown was one of many first individuals he labored with and somebody to whom he felt a particular connection.

Dorsey stated he brags about Brown and his new child at Ravenwood.

“I do know you’re gonna be a unbelievable father and I requested what I may get for the infant. (You) talked a couple of child wipe hotter. That’s gonna be probably the most ‘spoiledest’ child,” Dorsey stated. “Simply work at it day by day, hold doing what you’re doing. I’m all the time a telephone name away.”

Deidra Fairbanks, who labored the New Leaf program together with Brown, moved into the ultimate of the six phases at his commencement. She emphasised the impression of his sobriety on his baby’s life.

“You don’t need to miss something together with your youngsters. I missed quite a bit and I’ve a variety of regrets and also you don’t have to do this. You don’t need to miss their first steps, first phrases — something. And that’s only a lovely factor,” Fairbanks stated. “I understand how onerous you’re employed. I understand how excited you’re about this child … that’s such an enormous deal and to be a gift father and a sober father for any baby, particularly at the moment, it’s so necessary. You haven’t any thought the blessing you’re gonna be for this baby. You deserve that. You deserve the whole lot you’re gonna get.”

Brown — whose mom and girlfriend attended, and whose sister joined by way of WebEx — spoke to the courtroom and thanked them, in addition to the remedy workforce, for the assist they gave him.

With out their assist, he wouldn’t be right here at the moment, Brown stated.

“I’m not scheming methods to rob and steal. I take pleasure in life at the moment. I take pleasure in getting up each single day,” he stated. “I simply benefit from the individual I’m at the moment. I thank all of you.”


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