LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A specialized drug court has been helping young people in the valley for years. The two-year program has helped dozens of defendants between the ages of 18 and 24 maintain sobriety.
Most young offenders, like Arturo Rodriguez Perez, find themselves inside of Judge Cedric Kerns courtroom because of drugs.
They’re lucky to be alive.
“Falling into an addiction that wasn’t meant for me and that I think wasn’t meant for anybody at all,” said 23-year-old Arturo Rodriguez Perez.
On Thursday night, they celebrated just how far they’ve come. Since 2010, more than 50 people have graduated from the YO (young offenders) court.
“They make real strides to get their life back together and we are honored to be apart of that,” said Troy Oglesbee, the CEO of Community Revitalization Economic Diversity of Las Vegas (CREDO).
For Oglesbee, this is personal. He was once homeless and fighting a gambling addiction that he couldn’t break.
“I’ve always felt that God has called me back into the streets to give a helping hand to those who also need a second chance,” said Oglesbee.
Now, he runs the non-profit organization CREDO. With the help of others, he was able to give Arturo Rodriguez Perez a special gift: a brand new car.
“We drew them at random and he is going to find out about it tonight,” said Mike Parish, the Chief Operating Officer of Credo.
Rodriguez Perez will graduate from the program in six months.
“Something like this just wants to make me keep working on myself and being a better person,” he said.
Rodriguez Perez credits the court for his second chance.
“I grew up here. I was born and raised here in Las Vegas. I stuck around and thinking about sticking around for the rest of my life here,” he laughed.
The YO court mandates frequent court status checks and substance abuse treatment.
Rodriguez Perez says he plans to become a police officer.