Good Wolf graduates 3

CHAMBERSBURG – Three participants graduated from the Franklin County Good Wolf Treatment Court program last week.

Brittany Burriss, Benjamin Freeman and Aaron Gardner were part of a virtual ceremony led by Court of Common Pleas Judge Jeremiah Zook, with more than 35 attendees including Judge Angela Krom, District Attorney Matt Fogal, and former President Judge Carol Van Horn, who oversaw the program prior to her retirement.

The Good Wolf Treatment Court program gets its name from a Native American legend about the good and bad in each one of us, represented as a good wolf and a bad wolf. The goal is to “feed the good wolf” in order to encourage the best in oneself. This is the program’s aim.

“Through the Good Wolf Treatment Court, we are able to help people return to a healthy way of life with opportunities for contributing to a better future for our community,” Zook said.

The “good wolf” is encouraged in each participant through intensive supervision, guidance and necessary treatment. Defendants of non-violent crimes linked to substance use are helped to gain and maintain sobriety, act lawfully, and become responsible members of the community.

“Good Wolf Treatment Court is just one example of a successful partnership between the criminal justice and behavioral health systems. All of us involved in program delivery believe that treatment is effective and people can and do recover,” said Christy Unger, Franklin/Fulton Drug & Alcohol administrator. “We work together to support the whole person and assist individuals struggling with substance abuse into sustained recovery.”

The collaborative effort between probation, police, mental health services and treatment counselors offers a rigorous and challenging alternative to incarceration.

To be program eligible, individuals must undergo a drug and alcohol assessment by a clinical provider, be recommended to the program by the District Attorney, and must accept responsibility for criminal conduct and agree to a sentence that may include jail time along with treatment.

Once accepted into the program, participants are required to appear in treatment court every two weeks so that their progress may be monitored. Community service is also a condition of participation.

Including the three recent graduates, 17 participants have successfully graduated from the Good Wolf Treatment Court since the program began in April 2017.