The origins of the program were to offer non-violent substance-addicted offenders an alternative to imprisonment. Entrance into the program is at the discretion of the presiding judges in the defendant’s case. Once accepted into the program, participants are put through an intensive 12-step drug/alcohol rehabilitation, and also including educational instruction/GED, life-skills training, job-readiness training and placement.
R&B singer Kem, a Detroit native, was present at the event as a keynote speaker. He told of his own background with substance abuse and revealed to participants that he also completed the Salvation Army’s program at the same facility: “Because of my own background with substance abuse…anytime I have an opportunity to give back on this level, it’s a good thing,” Kem says he still attends group therapy sessions and claims to have been sober now for 20 years.
Another celebrity of sorts was also in attendance-- Judge Kevin Robbins was among the justices who participated in the graduation ceremony. He says he oversees over 30 individuals a year whose cases he diverts to the Drug Court program. He told the story of a new graduate in attendance whose case he supervised. Curtis Rowe was a basketball player for UCLA in the late 60s and early 70s, where the team won championships in ’69, ’70 and ’71. He was drafted and joined the Pistons team. He played for the Pistons for five years (among his teammates were current mayor Dave Bing) and three years for Boston. Apparently Rowe relocated to Detroit at some point, and somewhere along the way, things went badly enough to get arrested. Robbins went on to say that Rowe was a sports idol of his as a child, and he got to meet him twice in the distant past, and was struck by the irony when Rowe appeared before him as a criminal defendant. Robbins presented Rowe with a photograph of Robbins as a child playing basketball, asking him to keep this image in mind if things get stressful in maintaining his sobriety.
…Rowe says he likes Miami for the NBA finals.