Three graduates are being celebrated by the Las Vegas Municipal Court for successfully completing the court’s Habitual Offender Education and Prevention (HOPE) Court program.
A special graduation ceremony will be held today at 2 p.m. in Department 3 courtroom 5C at the Regional Justice Center, located at 200 Lewis Ave., with Las Vegas Municipal Court Judge Heidi Almase presiding.
The HOPE Court program is an alternative sentencing program designed to give a second chance to habitual offenders with issues related to homelessness, misdemeanor criminal activity and substance abuse addictions. The program finds housing for the participants and requires them to complete drug treatment, counseling, job readiness and life-skill courses. Every defendant must stay out of trouble and abstain from drugs and alcohol during the program.
Graduate James Waid, a US Army veteran, joined HOPE Court in April 2012 after being arrested for the 20th time and homeless for more than a year. The program partnered with the Veterans Administration to provide James with treatment; he has since successfully completed 475 days in the program.
Graduate Thomas Carney was admitted into HOPE Court in April 2012 after being arrested more than 30 times and homeless for six months. Through a partnership with Freedom House, Thomas was provided with the treatment and stability he needed. After spending 489 days in the program, he credits his daughter and grandson, and mentoring others, as his motivation for success.
Graduate Ruth “Zeporrah” Ponder was arrested more than 150 times before being accepted into HOPE Court in April 2012. Fighting homelessness for three months prior to joining the program, she began working only one month into her treatment and has since stayed strong to complete 489 days in the program.