GALLATIN COUNTY — A lot of times, when people hit rock-bottom in their lives, they feel like they don’t have any more options. Well, the Gallatin County Treatment Court gives substance abusers just that: another option.
“I will successfully do this program, and I did, and I’m so glad I did. This was the best thing that ever happened to me," said Rhonda Hammond, who went through the treatment court process.
And for so many other Gallatin County residents facing jail time from crimes motivated by substance abuse.
“I kept getting out on bond and kept getting sent back. The last time they fixed it to where I can’t get no bond,” Hammond explained.
While Hammond was in jail, she prayed for another option for a second chance at life.
“I said God if this lady lets me out of jail, the D.A., because they were talking about time, a lot of time,” she said.
The judge let Hammond out to have surgery and offered her treatment court versus jail time, which she didn’t realize would require so much.
“I didn’t think I was going to make it. At first I told the judge, I mean my probation officer, to send me back to jail. I can’t do it,” said Hammond.
But through all the meetings, drug tests, and requirements she is now a few months away from graduation: “I’m trying to better my life, and drug court has helped me do that.”
And many other people who are participating in the 18-month program agree.
“The treatment court program has given me a structure and different resources that would benefit my recovery," said Ryan Foreman, who is also going through treatment court. "I struggled a lot in the past and having found a dynamic such as this, and there’s a perfect recipe to the dynamic that I believe makes it work for others.”
And that dynamic is one of the things that makes the Gallatin County Treatment Court different.
“There’s help in a lot of different kinds of treatment, but I’ve not had the kind like this in a community," Foreman said.
Since treament court was launched in Gallatin County, 189 people have successfully completed the program, with another graduation coming up at the end of May.
The program currently has a 57 percent success rate. Program officials say that percentage took a huge hit after the pandemic greatly limited in-person interaction and forced a lot of their meetings to be held through Zoom.