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Eighteen defendants graduated from Nassau County Felony Treatment Court on Friday in the 30th ceremony since the alternative to incarceration began in 2009. Since then, 400 felony drug offenders have graduated from the program, and of those, only three have re-offended, said case management coordinator Jean McNee. Supreme Justice Frank Gulotta (pictured) presides over the court. To be eligible, defendants must be facing a felony charge and have an alcohol or substance abuse problem. Participation in the minimum 18-month program requires permission from a judge. Depending on each defendant’s prior history, the charge is either dismissed at the end of their treatment, downgraded to a misdemeanor or dismissed after a one-year conditional discharge. Past charges may also be sealed to improve their chances at finding employment, McNee said, which should help prevent recidivism.

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