CENTRAL CITY, Neb. - - A problem-solving court in Central Nebraska is celebrating two of its newest graduates. 

“(It's) so exciting. It’s sad, though, because we’ve spent the last 18 months watching both Hugh and Abby grow and just to see their potential and what they can do. So I’m sad just because I will miss them, but I’m so excited for them,” said Judge Rachel Daugherty. 

“They support you the entire way. It’s small steps at first. My life has changed drastically in the last – I’ll have two years sober here in about three days,” Hugh Riley said. 

It was an emotional day in Central City, a day to be thankful for and a day to celebrate for Hugh Riley and Abbi Galles. They are two of the most recent graduates of the Merrick County Problem-Solving Court.

The 18-month to 36-month intensive supervision program is designed for those struggling with addiction and addiction-influenced criminal behaviors. People who enter the program plead guilty, then the court modifies their bond to require them to do certain tasks instead of sending them to jail.

Judge Rachel Daugherty said it's a great way to make sure our citizens are as productive as they can be. 

“When we lock people up for addiction, we do a disservice to them and to ourselves," said Daugherty. "This gives them the opportunity to show who they are and what they’re capable of and to give back to their community.”

People in the program are tested three times a week, must find consistent employment and housing and must be drug-free for at least six months before graduation.

For Riley, the program had a great impact in his life and helped him restore his relationship with his two sons.

“I am completely different than I was two years ago. I am a productive member of society and I want to keep it that way,” said Riley.