Treatment Court Gets National Honor

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

SCRANTON -- Hundreds gathered in downtown Scranton Wednesday afternoon as members of the Lackawanna County court system received a national honor.

It was called the "All Rise Rally" to recognize Lackawanna County's drug treatment court as one of the best in the country.

The All Rise Rally is a play on words, using the first thing you hear during a court proceeding, "all rise."

Drug treatment court is an alternative to jail for substance abusers in trouble with the law and Lackawanna County treatment court was recognized as one of the best in the country.

Out of a crowd of more than 200 people, Lackawanna County Judge Michael Barrasse spotted Roxanne Kasper. She's one of the reasons for all the people gathered outside the county courthouse in Scranton.

It's called the All Rise Rally, meant to recognize Lackawanna County's drug treatment court. The program gives drug and alcohol addicts an alternative to jail. Kasper is one of its graduates.

"I'm not just proud for them, I'm proud for myself and the people that belong to this program. It's wonderful for this county. There's a lot more out there that need to come into this system." Kasper said.

People from a national organization overseeing drug treatment courts picked Lackawanna County as one of the top 25 in the country.  The program that offers rehab and counseling was started here by Judge Barrasse in 2000.

"This really is a beautiful day. We never expected we'd have the number of graduates that we've had, or the success, or have a community that has embraced it the way we have," Judge Barrasse said.

The folks from All Rise started their trip in California. They've since taken an RV more than 3,500 miles all over the country. Lackawanna County is its second-to-last stop. Next up is Brooklyn, New York.

Before they left Scranton, All Rise gave Judge Barrasse a special honor: a judge's gavel that's travelled with them all the way will stay in Lackawanna County, since they say the county's treatment court has become a model for others all over the country.

"The collaboration that exists here is a model for other communities to follow and the results are evident today, we're seeing people that otherwise would be incarcerated or on the streets," said Chris Deutsch, National Association of Drug Court Professionals.

Lackawanna County treatment court was started 13 years ago, and the judges say since then hundreds of people have completed the program.