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Two Men Graduate From Lawrence County Superior Court I Problem Solving Court
Updated February 22, 2017 7:08 AM
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(BEDFORD) - This morning, two men graduated from the Lawrence County Superior Court I Problem Solving Court.

The mission of the court is to focus on ending 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 William "Jeff" Nicholson and Kevin E. Blackburn.

Judge Michael Robbins, who oversees the program, says that 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.

"It was a slap in the face when we learned Lawrence County had an epidemic of domestic violence" says Robbins. "The goal is to open the door on domestic violence and put some bright sunlight on the problem and end the cycle. Domestic violence is not about anger, but about power and control...we are all working together to break that cycle and change lives...not only the lives of these men, but their families'."

Currently there are 18 participants in the program.

This morning's ceremony celebrated the hard work of Nicholson and Blackburn.

The two have established employment, assumed family responsibilities and actively participated in 12 to 24 months of recovery programs and completed a Safe Journal.

"I have... we have... watched their transition into new men," says Robbins.

Nicholson says his life was in a downward spiral when he entered the program.

"Now I am back on track, I can handle any situation," he added. "I have a new way of thinking... trust... and a better understanding of myself. Life is good today... this program has turned my life around."

Blackburn shared Nicholson's claims of a new life.

"I thought I was always the victim," Blackburn says. "I blamed everyone and everything else for the problems I was facing. I had no faith in anyone - but me... I always saw bad in people...I didn't know how to make good choices."

Blackburn, who loves music, now shares his talents at local churches and plays in a band at Nineveh Ministries.

Through the program, Blackburn discovered a new life for he and his son.

"And that is the greatest gift a father can give his son," Judge Robbins added. "Them them to be gentle souls and not violent abusers."

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