Police & Courts

Hancock County Drug Court celebrates first graduation

Jordan Ragain receives a watch as a gift Tuesday following his graduation from Hancock County Drug Court at the Hancock County Courthouse in Carthage, Ill. To his right is Judge Rodney Clark. Ragain is the first Hancock County Drug Court graduate. Two others are going through the program, as well. | H-W Photo/Katelyn Metzger
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Apr. 24, 2019 10:30 am Updated: Apr. 24, 2019 10:38 am

CARTHAGE, Ill. -- Jordan Ragain didn't have a key piece of advice for those in the Hancock County Drug Court program. His success as the first graduate came from his desire.

"It all boils down to you just have to want it for yourself," he said.

Ragain graduated in a brief ceremony Tuesday at the Hancock County Courthouse as two others in the program watched.

Initially, he had doubts about himself, but eventually he knew something changed inside him.

"When I got in this program, I didn't have faith in myself," Ragain said. "I didn't think I would make it because that's what I was used to."

Judge Rodney Clark, who presides over the program, presented Ragain with a plaque and a watch from the Drug Court team.

The watch was inscribed with "Go forth and set the world on fire," as well as the date of June 13, 2017, Ragain's sobriety date.

Hancock County State's Attorney Rachel Mast stressed the need for the program, noting that half of the felony cases in the county are related to possession of methamphetamine charges.

"To go a step further, the other cases that are pending are often a direct result of drug addiction or alcohol addiction as well," she said. "Drug Court provides an opportunity for individuals who may not have committed a drug-related offense but committed an offense as a result of an addiction to drugs and alcohol."

Mast said Drug Court is a voluntary program where participants must confront their addictions. The program, which welcomed its first participant in 2017, allows an alternative for those facing prison time.

Carla Bishop, the probation officer who oversees Drug Court, said she has heard some in the community say the program is easy.

"It's anything but easy, and it's anything but effortless," Bishop said.

Requirements of Drug Court include GPS monitoring, counseling, regular court appearances, probation appointments, frequent drug screening and regular self-help meetings, such as Narcotics Anonymous.

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