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Governor Gianforte Encourages Treatment Court Graduates to Stay on the Path of Recovery

HELENA, Mont. – Governor Greg Gianforte addressed the graduates of the First Judicial District Treatment Court at a ceremony this afternoon, encouraging them to stay on the path of recovery.

“Treatment courts help nonviolent offenders rebuild their lives and become sober and healthy. That’s why we’ve proudly secured funding for over a dozen treatment courts across the state,” Gov. Gianforte said. “I’ll be rooting for each of these graduates as they continue their recovery.”

At the graduation, Gov. Gianforte listened to the stories of the six graduates, like the one of Lakota Salminen. Her struggle with addiction began in middle school when she started abusing alcohol, which led to serious drug abuse as she grew older.

During the ceremony, Lakota shared how she never thought sobriety was an option for her, until she wrote an essay in treatment court on why she had relapsed. In the conclusion of that essay, she wrote, “I have to stop expecting people to hold me accountable to the standards I don’t even hold myself to.”

It was that simple reflection, Lakota says, that changed her life. Today, she is almost a year and a half sober, has a steady job, and recently welcomed a baby boy.

“The program gave me structure and accountability in my life,” Lakota said. “It allowed me to show up for those people that are important in my life. I’m so grateful.”

Treatment courts help non-violent offenders rebuild their lives through treatment, recovery, counseling, education, and job placement services, costing a fraction of incarceration.

“Treatment court, in many ways, is my favorite part about every week mostly because people in the court system usually come to us to deal with some of the worst moments of their lives,” Judge Chris Abbott said. “The nice thing about the treatment court model is it gives people a chance to show us what they are at their best.”

The governor proposed in his Budget for Montana Families and secured from the legislature funding for eight treatment courts that were losing federal funding, after securing funding for five in his first year in office.

The eight courts are the Veterans Treatment Court in Missoula County, the Fourth Judicial District Treatment Court in Missoula County, the Sixth Judicial District Adult Treatment Court in Park County, the 12th Judicial District Drug Court in Hill County, the 19th Adult Drug Treatment Court in Lincoln County, the Ravalli County Adult Drug Treatment Court, the 13th Judicial District Indian Child Welfare Act Family Drug Court in Yellowstone County, and the 13th Judicial District SOAR Court Pre-Plea in Yellowstone County.

Press release provided by the Governor’s office

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