Attorney General Eric Holder praises rehabilitation program in St. Louis

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(KTVI) – America’s top cop was in St. Louis Thursday praising a local federal drug court program that helps convicted offenders re-enter society.

Attorney General Eric Holder attended a graduation ceremony at the Eagleton Courthouse for what’s called “Project EARN,” which stands for Expanding Addicts Recovery Network.

It helps non-violent offenders who have served time and have drug issues rebuild their lives.

Holder says the project goes hand in hand with the Justice Department’s “Smart on Crime” initiative. It seeks to reform the criminal justice system and improve re-entry programs to curb repeat offenses.  The attorney general will also stop in Peoria to talk about the initiative.

“We have to continue to support these programs. We recognize as these graduates have shown that better treatment and expanded access to the resources that they need can result in better outcomes,” said Holder.

Donny Westrich, 42, a former meth user from St. Ann who graduated from the program Thursday added, “I’ve realized that a lot of people have overcome their environment and the substances aroundand it’s ultimately about the thinking process.”

There were a total of four graduates Thursday.

“Project EARN” helps offenders who are on supervised release.

The program is in its fifth year.

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