422nd District Judge Mike Chitty

422nd District Judge Mike Chitty presents a Drug Court diversion program graduate with a diploma and prayer shawl during a celebration of the program's tenth anniversary held last week at the Kaufman County courthouse.

KAUFMAN, Texas — 422nd District Judge Mike Chitty hosted a celebration and graduation for the tenth anniversary of Kaufman County’s Drug Court diversion program at the courthouse last Friday.

Joined by Congressman Lance Gooden, other elected officials, drug court partners and alumni, Chitty honored three people who have recently completed the program.

Kaufman County’s drug court is one of 3,000 similar diversion programs around the country focused on creating long term solutions for offenders who suffer from drug addictions. The goal is to reduce recidivism rate for offenders, and Chitty says that this is just one of the successes that the program has produced over the past decade. To date the program has graduated 80 participants who undergo intense supervision, education and addiction treatment.

“This has been a very successful program,” Chitty said, “It presents win-win situations for the individuals involved and for the community. I am proud of what we have accomplished here.”

Several alumni of the program spoke to the audience and talked about how the program had changed the directions in their lives.

Gooden said Chitty and his court were an inspirational force to judges across the state.

“Judge Chitty has been able to create a program that helps solve a problem, reduce crime, alleviate the burden of tax payers, while being innovative and practical,” Gooden tells inForney.com

Since the program's inception, each graduate receives a diploma and a prayer shawl that are knitted by the women of Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Terrell. Chitty says the shawls are to serve as a reminder to all the graduates that they are wrapped in the prayers of the women who made them and the community at large.