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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A new therapy program in Greene County’s Drug Court aims to help young adults in our criminal justice system.

The program is called Habilitation Empowerment Accountability Therapy (HEAT) and is designed for males ages 18 to 29 and uses a holistic approach for treatment.

It serves as a promising avenue for young men who are most at-risk during probation.

“If you don’t look at issues like family, community and sprirituality as part of that healing process, then you’re only treating one part of the person,” said Darryl Turbin, Co-Principle of The PinWheel Group.

It’s this holistic approach to therapy, taught at a training session to providers on Friday, that’s the basis of a new drug therapy program for Greene County.

“We try to make sure we look at every aspect of the human being,” said Guy Wheeler, Co-Principle of The PinWheel Group.

Unlike traditional therapies, the nine-month intervention focuses on more than just the individual.

“We’re looking at where are these folks, what do they really need and that’s a fairly new phenomena with drug courts and when we divide them out, our programming is based on what they need,” said Judge Peggy Davis, Drug Commissioner for the 31st Circuit Court.

“We’re looking at where are these folks, what do they really need and that’s a fairly new phenomena with drug courts and when we divide them out, our programming is based on what they need”Judge Peggy Davis

Davis said there’s about 1,200 participants in the county’s drug court program, at least 50-percent of whom are young men.

“We’re fighting against things that have happened to them from their environment and slower development, so it makes them a difficult population to deal with not because they’re worse, but just because we have more complex issues,” said Davis.

Wheeler said that’s why the program targets young men.

“Many of them are coming through this process and they are maturing throughout,” said Wheeler.

Turpin said the goal is for participants to walk away with the skills to sustain a drug-free, crime-free, productive life. But for that to happen, community support is necessary.

“This curriculum cannot work well in just a vaccum, it has to have all the other community come together to provide the supportive resources necessary to get that individual back on the road of recovery.

The HEAT program has been used in other states like Texas.

Davis said the program could save taxpayers money in the long run.

She said they’ll be tracking the success of the program’s participants over the next year.

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