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Three Graduate From Lawrence County Superior Court I Problem Solving Court
Updated October 5, 2016 7:38 AM
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(BEDFORD) - On Tuesday, three men graduated from the Lawrence County Superior Court I Problem Solving Court.

The mission of the court is to end the cycle of domestic violence through timely, focused and collaborative response. It is the first Problem Solving Court for domestic violence in the state.

During the ceremony, advisors of the court and fellow participants celebrated the hard work and accomplishments of three men - Roger Collier, Matt Tuell and Ben Baker.

How did they succeed? With honesty, open mindedness and willingness to surrender.

The goal of those who developed the Problem Solving Court is to break the cycle of violence in families. Research shows that fathers involved in domestic violence pass that violent behavior to their sons and mothers who are in violent situations teach their daughters to be victims and look for those traits in the men they chose as partners.

"I am extremely proud of these men," says Judge Michael Robbins, who oversees the program. "Domestic violence is a family disease that affects families all the way up and down the line. are hope in the Problem Solving Court is to focus on how to change lives...all we have manage to do is fill a lot of prisons and spend a lot of money - it is not working. It is easy to put someone in jail. It is not easy to change lives. It is not about winning and punishment but about doing the right thing for people and helping them address their problems and turn their lives around and see families heal."

Currently there are 17 participants in the program.

The three graduates have established employment, assumed family responsibilities and actively participated in recovery programs and completed a Safe Journal.

29-year-old Matt Tuell was the first to be admitted into the Problem Solving Court and the first to speak at the graduation.

Tuell is an addict and his addiction contributed to his domestic violence arrest.

Tuell was jailed in May 2014 and entered the Problem Solving Court in August of the same year.

"It was overwhelming," Tuell says. "I had to completely change my life."

He earned his GED, completed all the required classes, is employed and obtained his driver's license.

"I have been clean for over a year," he added. "I am a better father and role model... the direction of my life is good now. I learned to channel my emotions... I have hope in life."

Roger Collier was full of anger when he entered the program.

Collier didn't have an addiction, but had a problem with control and power which is what domestic violence is.

"They were the tactics I came to live by," Collier added. "Seeing the truth isn't easy sometimes... I opened my eyes - violence was wrong and not the answer."

Collier says the experience was a humbling experience.

Ben Baker has been a drug addict for 17 years.

He grew up in a family that used drugs and alcohol and domestic fights were common.

He first was addicted to pain medication and that spiraled into meth use for both him and his wife.

"That led to legal problems and violence," Baker added. "My life was unmanageable. We were arguing constantly, we couldn't pay our bills, always moving."

Baker learned to surrender.

"I had to put my trust in the team," he added. "I found manageability in life again...I still face daily struggles that everyone has in life, but with the tools I have been taught in this program I can face them with a clear mine and not anger."



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