WINFIELD, W.Va. -- Tracy Jividen-Haynes got involved with drugs at a very early age. By 19, she was faced with a 56-count indictment and pleaded guilty to 12 felonies.
"Recidivism -- that was me. The revolving door, here I come. I was a probation violator, a three-time parole violator, a home confinement violator, an IV drug user," Jividen-Haynes said. I had done 10 years in the Department of Corrections. I opened Lakin [Correctional Center]. I was on the first bus in."
Once she got out of prison, Jividen-Haynes said she returned to drugs simply because she didn't know what else to do.
"I was afraid of what I didn't know. I had known how to get and use drugs. I'd been tucked away in a jail cell for 10 years, and what did I learn there?" she said. "All I learned were stories way worse than mine and what not to do when I got out. That's how real it was."
After "failing Day Report sideways," Jividen-Haynes said she left message after message with Kanawha County's Adult Drug Court because she knew she "desperately needed help," and after talking to counselors and staff there, felt she had found it.
"I thought, 'These people are really listening to me. These people really believe in me,'" Jividen-Haynes said. "They called me on my crap. I was drug tested three to five times a week. I needed that structure. I needed the tools to learn. I was in prison, now I'm out of prison, so now what?"
Now Jividen-Haynes, a graduate of Kanawha County's drug court program, has held a steady job for two years with Charleston Newspapers and lives in her own home. She also owns two pieces of property, a car, and lives with her husband and has custody of all her children. She said her experience with drug court helped her achieve it all.
"I just needed to be taught, because it was what I always wanted in my heart," she said. "I didn't always want to be a closet junkie with an IV in my arm. I wanted more; I just didn't know how to get there, and I met all these people who could show me. It wasn't rocket science. I just needed somebody who believed in me -- somebody besides my old dope buddy who needed a fix too."
Jividen-Haynes' success in Kanawha County Drug Court is something Putnam County Circuit Judge Joseph Reeder wants to replicate. Jividen-Haynes spoke at Putnam County's Adult Drug Court opening Monday in Winfield.
Reeder, who was elected in 2012, said the establishment of an adult drug court in Putnam County was one of the goals he hoped to achieve while in office. The drug court is already fully staffed and has accepted five participants for its first class.
"Drug addiction and drug abuse is something that affects all of us in one way or another in the county and throughout the state of West Virginia, and that's why we've been so focused on the founding of [Putnam's] drug court," Reeder said. "I don't think there are very many of us who haven't been touched in some way by drug addiction or abuse."
The adult drug court will be similar to other courts in West Virginia, as well as the juvenile drug court that already exists in Putnam County. In addition to a coordinator, the program will have a counselor and a treatment team, which will have representatives from the county's probation office, the prosecutor's office, the Sheriff's Department and other county agencies.