Americus drug court program helping change lives

Video from WALB
Published: Aug. 17, 2022 at 6:29 PM EDT
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AMERICUS, Ga. (WALB) - Never too far gone, a man who’s no longer homeless said he’s proof that the drug courts program in Americus works.

Working to keep people from ending up back here, facing drug charges again. That’s the goal of the program.

Gary Franks has successfully completed the drug court program and has maintained sobriety.
Gary Franks has successfully completed the drug court program and has maintained sobriety.(Source: WALB)

“I’ve made bad choices and ended up in jail. I was homeless at the time. And, you know, they offered me drug court and told me that, you know, they told me that they were here to help this time around and not punish,” said Gary Franks, a graduate of the program.

Franks successfully completed the court a couple of years ago. He’s maintained sobriety and is a productive member of society.

Lewis Lamb is the district attorney for the Southwestern Judicial Circuit.
Lewis Lamb is the district attorney for the Southwestern Judicial Circuit.(Source: WALB)

“Everybody needs an opportunity in society in general. And so, I think it’s good for the community when people have jobs to also consider folks in this program,” said Lewis Lamb, district attorney for the Southwestern Judicial Circuit.

Those that take advantage of the program are likely to get jobs and land back on their feet.

“Well it helps everybody you know, not all participants are successful. But those that are successful are able to avoid imprisonment. They’re able to become better members for their families and more productive in their community get jobs. I mean, we have people that have really turned things around. Of course, we’ve had some that couldn’t,” said Judge James Sizemore.

James Sizemore is a judge in the Southwestern Judicial Superior Court.
James Sizemore is a judge in the Southwestern Judicial Superior Court.(Source: WALB)

Starting a new life outside of prison can be hard, but it’s important to know nobody is perfect.

Employers in the community said they are happy to have hired from within the program.

Without treatment, experts say it’s about a 50% or higher chance that a criminal will re-offend.

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