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Criminal Justice students are inspired to play a positive role in the courts

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"Hi, I am Judge Stoner and I am head of Drug Court."

The judge used his ironic name to loosen up the crowd at the first public Oklahoma County Drug Court Graduation Celebration.

Among the crowd, Sid Brown, professor of Criminal Justice at Oklahoma Christian University, celebrated the four names added to the list of graduates, bringing the 2019 total up to 121. The rehabilitation of these individuals gave 182 children a sober, flourishing parent, avoided 847 years of incarceration and saved more than $20 million in prison cost.

Professor Brown praises Judge Stoner as a transformational individual and perhaps one of the most innovative judges in the nation in this area.

The 7th Judicial District Drug/DUI Court Program is a court-supervised, comprehensive treatment program for non-violent defendants with alcohol and/or drug problems. This is a voluntary program which includes regular court appearances before a designated judge and treatment services, which include random drug and alcohol testing, individual and group counseling, specialized counseling, regular attendance at self-help meetings, requirements to attain and keep employment and obtain a GED, if needed.

One of Professor Brown's students impacts lives and communities through drug research and education.

"This was an incredible graduation and the spiritual aspects of the individuals who spoke thanked God, and the drug court team, for saving them from destruction. It was tear evoking to hear the stories," said Professor Brown. "A few people, led by a transformational judge, can have a powerful impact in the arena of criminal justice."

Those attending the graduation ceremony included community partners vital to the program's success. One such participant, Dr. Rashi Shukla author of the book Methamphetamine: A Love Story, is one of Professor Brown's former students.

"Dr. Shukla exemplifies the impact an individual can have in the lives of others," said Professor Brown. "She has spoken to state, national and international conferences on the most destructive drug in the history of the world."

Dr. Shukla's meth researched has motivated her to devote herself to countering the evil influences of that drug by educating law enforcement, government leaders and others.

The Criminal Justice degree at Oklahoma Christian trains students to view their career as a calling and a way to minister to individuals who may be at the lowest point in their lives. OC students are taught and mentored by Professor Brown, and they are often inspired by those devoted to reform such as Judge Stoner and Dr. Shukla.