By Lasca Randels
WARSAW — The first dual Jail Chemical Addiction Program graduation ceremony was held Friday, Oct. 23.
For the first time since the inception of the program, both the men’s and women’s programs took place simultaneously rather than being alternated. Eight men and six women received their certificates of completion in Friday’s ceremony.
In August 2018, Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill held a press conference at the Kosciusko County Jail to announce the launch of the JCAP program, aimed at addressing substance abuse issues suffered by many of the nation’s inmates.
Kosciusko County Sheriff Kyle Dukes, JCAP Coordinator Courtney Jenkins and Kosciusko Jail Commander Shane Coney have worked together to turn the program into a huge success.
“This program has developed into exactly what I had in mind,” said Hill, who attended Friday’s graduation ceremony.
Tammy Spacy, mother of Shanda Spacy, who was part of the first women’s JCAP graduating class in February 2019, was the guest speaker.
Tammy acknowledged Dukes, Jenkins and Coney.
“First thing I’d like to say is thank you. You guys were so good to Shanda and she loved you so much.”
Tammy told those in attendance she wanted to read a letter Shanda had given her for Mother’s Day — the last letter she ever received from her daughter.
“She was very proud of the JCAP program. She lived and breathed that for a long, long time. She always called me ‘Little Mama,’ so it starts out: ‘Little Mama, I just wanted you to know that I appreciate all that you are. I want you to know how special you truly are to me and that you are truly my best friend. Your strength and integrity inspires me to be a better person. I can never thank you enough for your dedication to me as a mother and as a support system. You are the strongest woman I’ve ever known. I can’t give you anything materialistic for Mother’s Day, but I can give you something a little more meaningful — and it’s something that will last a lifetime because this Mother’s Day I’m giving you a sober, strong, dedicated daughter that has fought like hell to become the best version of herself and I am promising you that I will continue that fight every day. I promise to never take a second for granted again and that we will only get closer as time goes on. Happy Mother’s Day, Mommy. I love you with all my heart.’
“Not even a year later she was gone,” Tammy said.
She explained that Shanda had obtained a job she had dreamed of and made good friends but later got laid off from her job.
According to Tammy, heroin was Shanda’s drug of choice.
“So she slipped. From what I’ve heard, she said ‘just one time.’ Well, that one time was her last time,” Tammy said. “She was so proud of the JCAP program and she was so excited that she graduated and she had planned on volunteering and doing all this work to help other people that were in her situation, so I’m trying to be that person that she wanted me to be and help anybody that I can.”
She encouraged the recent class of JCAP graduates to talk to someone, “family, friend, stranger, anyone” if they feel they are in danger of slipping up.
Jenkins presented Tammy with a plaque in honor of Shanda, “As a reminder of how hard we fight and that every day is a gift that we can’t take for granted and that we have to be diligent,” Jenkins said. “Shanda was an inspiration when she was in our program. She worked hard. She was a light and she was always encouraging. She was a listener for the other women. And we are better for having known her and we are grateful for you being here with us today.”
Friday’s graduates included: Tina Cole, Lindsey Fremault, Stephanie Gulley, Dana Jackson, Amanda Pavel, Morgan Wood, Ryan Baldwin, Anthony Geib, Trey Hall, Charles Kreider, Ryan Prater, Tyler Sheetz, Nicholas Sloan and Aaron Snyder.