Harford Honors Drug Court Participants with Symbol of Hope

The unveiling of a Graduation Tree at the Harford County Circuit Court strives to celebrate drug court graduates and inspire participation.

Founded in June of 2019 and spearheaded by Judge Kevin J. Mahoney, the Harford County Circuit Court Drug Court has seen the graduation of 18 members since the program began.  Even with the suspension of in-person drug court activities during the COVID-19 pandemic, participants and program managers persevered.

At the unveiling of the tree on September 12, Brianna Knight, a member of the first graduating class recounted why it was so important to see it through despite the challenges. “This program gave me the resources I needed to help myself to stay accountable for my actions. More importantly, they believed in me.”

The drug court programs are open to offenders with a substance abuse issue and can be an alternative to incarceration. “A significant majority of the crimes we see inside the courtroom are fueled by addiction,” Judge Mahoney said. “Due to limited resources in the community, we saw a direct need for this in Harford County.”

Requirements for the program include mandatory meetings and training sessions that are specific to the participants substance use disorder. Additionally, they must attend case management meetings, support group sessions as well as additional employment, educational and life skills classes.

Richard Barton, the program director for Maryland’s problem-solving courts attended the unveiling as well. “This Graduation Tree is a symbol of strength, stability and hope for the participants, their families, and the community.”

According to the Harford County press release, “the tree will remain on an easel in front of the courtroom. Future graduates will add their names to the tree, honoring their recovery journey and inspiring future participants.

Learn more about Harford’s Adult Drug Court program.