DALLAS -- Newly sworn-in Polk County Circuit Court Judge Sally Avera has been assigned as Polk County Drug Court Program judge.
Avera began work Monday and presided over her first drug court session that afternoon, said Loy Thommen, Polk County's drug court coordinator.
"I was very anxious to have that assignment," Avera said last week. "As a prosecutor and defense attorney, I worked with people who have (addictions). I believe that drug court is the best chance for success for those people."
Recently retired judge William Horner had been drug court's judge since the program began in Polk County in 2005.
The program allows people charged with drug-related crimes or probation violations to avoid convictions if they are able to stay off drugs for a total of six months while receiving treatment, working or attending school, taking parenting and personal finance classes, and other requirements. The program is a partnership between the Polk County Circuit Court, the District Attorney and Community Corrections offices, local police agencies and counseling services.
The goal of the team is for graduates of the program to not only end their addiction, but to learn to live as productive citizens, Avera said.
"Those folks who are on the (drug court) team ... their dedication has made a difference in a lot of people's lives," she said.