KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Twelve people were honored for their sobriety during a special graduation ceremony on Monday in Knoxville.

They participated in the Knoxville Day Reporting Center (DRC), which is an intensive outpatient treatment program that offers an alternative to incarceration. More than 150 people have now graduated from the year-long substance abuse treatment program.

Almost a year ago, they were sitting in a courtroom, waiting for a decision about their future. They had been arrested on charges related to substance use and were given the option to complete the DRC program or face incarceration.

Criminal Court Judges Hector Sanchez and Judge Scott Green praised the graduates for their accomplishments during the graduation ceremony. Green has worked with the program since its inception.

“We are proud of you and your potential. You have proven to us, your counselors, friends, and family, and more importantly, yourselves, what you are capable of with the right support,” they said.

Sherry Crouse, Director of the Knoxville DRC, addressed the graduates, saying, “I know this wasn’t easy for any of you. It’s been a long and difficult process. But you worked on your sobriety and have reached this point as a direct result of the effort you put into the program and to better yourselves. We are all very proud of you and will continue to support you should you need us.”

The Tennessee Department of Correction implemented the DRC program as part of the 2016 Public Safety Act. It provides cognitive behavioral therapy, group and individual counseling, participation in community service, and job readiness courses.