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Newton sheriff applauds Residential Substance Abuse Treatment program graduates
Ashley Anglin
Ashley Anglin and Sheriff Ezell Brown show Anglin's certificate for being among the first female graduates of the Newton County program. - photo by Courtesy of the Newton County Sheriff's Office

COVINGTON, Ga. — The Newton County Sheriff’s Office recently graduated two male residents and six female residents from its 10th Residential Substance Abuse Treatment (RSAT) program in a small ceremony held inside the jail’s courtroom.

The program offers treatment services to inmates who have substance abuse issues. It seeks to break the cycle of dependency and prepare inmates for life outside the jail, a news release stated.

Sheriff Ezell Brown recognized the graduates’ accomplishments, provided them with words of encouragement, and thanked all those who helped and continue to help ensure the success of the RSAT program during the Feb. 5 event.

“I congratulate each of you for this outstanding accomplishment,” said Brown. “Moving forward, we expect you to take what you’ve learned in this program and use it to succeed in future endeavors.

“I want to thank our partners, staff, judges, District Attorney’s office, and the Superior Court for supporting our RSAT program. Without your support, this program would not be successful, so I thank you.”

The six female residents — Ashley Anglin, Shannon Horne, Lemonya O'Neal, Lisa Owenby, Sarah Kraft, and Kristyn Stephens — were recognized as the first group of females to graduate from the RSAT program at the Sheriff’s Office.

The male residents who graduated from the 10th RSAT program were Jason Galaza and Keion Stanley.

Beginning with the ninth RSAT program held May 8, 2020, the Sheriff’s Office changed how it conducted its RSAT graduation ceremony in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The safety and health of all staff and residents are a top priority for Brown and the Sheriff’s Office; therefore, the number of ceremony attendees are kept to the absolute minimum according to the guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

It was also required for those in attendance to wear a face covering and practice social distancing at all times.

Newton County began the RSAT program in 2018 and was the third agency to offer it after Gwinnett and Rockdale counties in the metro Atlanta area.