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Tulsa County alternative court program helps dozens avoid jail time

Posted at 4:48 PM, Jan 27, 2023

TULSA, Okla. — Two dozen men and women graduated from multiple alternative court programs in Tulsa County on Friday.

Jeff Holden is from McAlester but moved to Tulsa five years ago. Like many Americans, Holden at one-point holden struggled with addiction, but he's clean and celebrating a milestone.

“Phase one, you come to court once a week," Holden said. "You have two or three classes you take once a week. As you gradually go up in phases, like phase two, you go to court twice a week. You see a probation officer twice a week. The farther you go up, the less and less you have to see them. But the more strict they are on you.”

The alternative court program offers those who get arrested the chance to begin drug, DUI or veteran treatment court instead of doing jail time.

“I just wanted to make a change and actually be a success story I guess you would say,” Holden said.

Since the program began in 1995, 3,500 people have graduated from one of the alternative court programs from the felony court dockets. In 2022 98% of the drug court graduates had jobs, and 100% of them got their GED or a trade certificate. After two and a half years in the program, Holden says he’s ready for his next, clean chapter.

“Now the real work begins," he said. "So, all the things I learned through drug court, all the things I learned through the recovery program that I was a part of, now I actually have to put those to use. Because now I’m not checking in with anybody. I don’t have to see a probation officer. I don’t have to go to court, so now the real test begins on what I’ve learned. I’m fairly confident it will be a very successful ending.”

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