A second chance Thursday for some people on the Iron Range whose lives were headed in the wrong direction.


In Virginia, several people graduated from the city's drug court program marking a new beginning for each of them.

"I can't say not one bad thing about Drug Court, it is the best thing that has ever happened to me," said Drug Court Graduate, Steven Palkovich. 

Drug Court, also known as Treatment Court serves more than 100,000 people in the U.S. 

"I've been involved in drugs my whole life. I realized that wasn't the life that I wanted," said Palkovich.

Changing the lives of addicted offenders.

"Too often in the criminal justice system we spend all the money in the back end and this is an investment in the front end to keep people clean and sober and keep people out of prison," said Range Treatment Court Public Defender, Mark Muhich.

Those that are accepted undergo the most intensive type of probation. 

"People have to have regular UA's, they have to go to two AA meetings a week a minimum, they have weekly check-ins, weekly drug testing,' said Muhich.

One of more than 3,000 drug courts across the country held its graduation ceremony on Thursday. 
Steven Palkovich was one grad, who's been in and out of jail and has 8 felonies. 


Palkovich not only got his plaque for serving 541 days in Drug Court, he also got a chance at a new life.

"They've helped me get my family back, maintain a sober life and they helped me be the man I am today," said Palkovich. 

"You aren't going to be able to help everybody and serve everybody there are some people that aren't going to make it. Our graduation rate is about 70% and those of us on the team are pleased with that," said Muhich.

Palkovich now has a full-time job and has custody of his children. 

"I've actually only accomplished to things that I can actually be proud of in life and that's fighting and getting my kids back and completing drug court," said Palkovich.

Five people graduated from the program Thursday. 

If you would like more information on Drug Courts, click here: http://www.mncourts.gov/Help-Topics/Treatment-Courts.aspx