San Diego Drug Court and ARC Work Together
by Marlene Gerber –
It was a joyous day for Kathy. Her mother and brothers smiled broadly as she accepted her diploma for completing the rigorous long-term ARC rehabilitation program. Another special guest at the graduation ceremony in the San Diego ARC chapel was Judge Bonnie Dumanis, who had a special interest in Kathy’s successful completion of the program.
Judge Dumanis is a co-founder of San Diego’s innovative and effective court program. The program is designed to help break the pattern of drug dependency and refers eligible non-violent drug defendants to community recovery programs as an alternative to prison. It establishes a positive and effective environment for participants to address their substance abuse issues without compromising public safety. Kathy was referred to the ARC for this purpose, and became the first drug court participant to graduate from the ARC.
Dr. Edward Lataille, San Diego ARC director of rehabilitation services, serves on the drug court’s steering committee and works closely with Dumanis. “The court’s philosophy is compatible with The Salvation Army’s approach to rehabilitation,” he said, “including adherence to a rigorous, honest 12-step program that emphasizes discipline, structure and a strong spiritual component.” Drug court’s stringent requirements closely parallel the ARC’s frequent drug testing and AA/NA meeting, individual and group therapy, and crisis intervention, in addition to weekly court appearances.
Dumanis, who has enjoyed a distinguished legal career and will become Assistant Presiding Judge of San Diego Municipal Court in January, said her favorite challenge to her charges to change behavior is: “If you keep doing what you always did, you’ll keep getting what you always got.”
The challenge was taken seriously by Kathy, who is on the road to recovery and into a new life of sobriety and hope.
“Our blessings go with Kathy and to the others in the program who have committed to change circumstances in their lives and break the bonds of addiction,” stated Major Joseph Viola (R), ARC administrator.