The drug court for Benton and Franklin counties is premier example of what progressive justice can do.
It's a place where shattered lives, shattered families and dying hopes are mended and sometimes -- often, in fact -- made whole.
Top law enforcement officers, judges, administrators, the public and offenders come together there to work through problems, violations and sometimes failed intentions, and overcome addictions.
At the end, when graduation time comes for those offenders with the character and self-control to see it through, a new world of opportunity is born.
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"No matter how rough a time I've had, I consider it a good day when it ends with a drug court graduation ceremony," Ken Hohenberg, Kennewick's chief of police, told the Herald a while back.
Hohenberg was an early recipient of the Hero of Hope award, which honors those who have contributed most to the success of the drug courts.
This year it was Benton County Prosecutor Andy Miller's turn.
He was caught by surprise.
Many people think a prosecutor's job is all about law and order -- that it's a matter of successfully prosecuting the defendant and getting a long prison sentence for him or her.
Miller actually is pretty good at that side of things.
But he's also a man who would like to see people who have gotten in trouble with drugs find a way out -- to give them a chance to rebuild their lives with their families.
Drug courts wouldn't have made it here without Miller's early encouragement and strategic help.
Not everyone gets to go through the rehabilitation that's encouraged by drug court.
It's a year or more of dogged determination on the perpetrator's part, sudden inspections, lots of monitoring and a straight path to follow without deviation.
"Clear back in 2000-2001, when individuals were gathering to discuss starting drug court programs, Andy was willing to come to the table," said Superior Court Judge Carrie Runge. "Without Andy's willingness to come to the table, there certainly would not be any Benton-Franklin County Adult Drug Court programs."
Not all the drug court programs in the Mid-Columbia have survived state budget cuts in the past few years, but none has closed without a struggle by Miller and others to keep them open.
The public, not just the offenders and their families, benefit from these programs.
Those who have been through a drug court program are much, much less likely to re-offend than those who simply have been sent to jail or prison.
Miller is a founding member and current president of the nonprofit Circle of Hope Foundation that helps support drug court programs.
He acknowledged that the job of lawyers, judges and law enforcement officers can take a toll.
"One reason I go to every drug court graduation is (because) I'm inspired by you," Miller recently said to those waiting to graduate.
Characteristically, he shifted the spotlight back to the graduates, whose success has earned them awards of their own -- renewed hope, mended relationships and a good measure of respect.