MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) - Monday morning, as thousands of youngsters in Madison County were starting a brand new school year, a small class of men and women celebrated their graduation.
It was a class they never intended to join: the Madison County Drug Court.
They are non-violent offenders who committed various crimes to support addictions to alcohol, spice, marijuana, cocaine and opiates.
Judge Claude E. Hundley directed the graduation of 13 men and women and complimented their success.
For some of them, it took two and a half years to complete what is designed to be a 12 month program.
Graduation meant the non-violent offenders could avoid prison time and get the cases against them dismissed.
Directors of the program say it costs the state of Alabama $17,000 to house an inmate for a year. Drug Court saves taxpayers $260,000 a year and gives graduates something priceless: a new start in life.