Probation Spotlight: Butte County Probation Celebrates Another Successful Drug Court Graduation


From KRCRAction News Now, and CPOC.

On Wednesday, May 8, 2024, Butte County Probation hosted their weekly Drug Court with a twist. This time, they celebrated the graduation of three individuals from their Drug Treatment Court as well as highlighting the accomplishments of individuals who are almost done with the program in celebration of National Drug Court Month. 

Probation officers and staff, as well as county Health Department staff and Sheriffs department officials attended the graduation to celebrate the accomplishments of the graduates and encourage them in their next steps of successful completion and the continued road of recovery.

Local news stations attended to capture interviews with graduates and highlight this remarkable program that is changing lives for the better. 

“That is what National Treatment Court Month is all about, really recognizing the efforts of people to become clean and sober, and to improve their lives and the lives of this community,” said Melissa Romero, Chief Probation Officer in Butte County.

The Butte County Probation Department has four collaborative Courts. Collaborative Courts are comprised of multi-disciplinary teams, who work to be responsive to the needs of the participants. They allow participants an opportunity to participate in evidence-based treatment models as an alternative to traditional court processing.

Drug Court is a program for individuals on probation, struggling with sobriety. Melissa Romero, Chief Probation Officer in Butte County, told KRCR the program is typically a last resort for individuals to avoid serving time in state prison.

She explained participants focus on what triggers their addiction with supplemental court appearances, a team, a probation officer, counseling through Butte County Behavioral Health, and local treatment providers.


Romero says many have graduated from the program have gone on to join the workforce, receive higher educations, start families, and turn their lives around.

She understands the program is not easy, but is proud to watch individuals create positive lives and futures for themselves.

“Watching people overcome the challenge of addiction is incredible and we don’t do that for them, they do that. To be a part of their journey, it’s very very rewarding,” concluded Romero.


Judge Deems handed the graduates certificates of their achievement while officials gave out coins to remember the progress each person has made.

Amongst those at the ceremony, were a Butte County couple both experiencing addiction and serving in the program, now living clean lives raising their children together.


Rachelle Velasquez holds her daughter after graduating from the Butte County Drug Court Program. She was surrounded by her family on this special day. 

But Velasquez wasn’t the only person in her family who was being celebrated today. Her boyfriend and father of her baby, Kyle Colvard, was honored at today’s ceremony for advancing in the program. 


“Our kids that’s what we are doing it for. Our kids needed us, and we had to change dramatically so that not only ourselves but our kids could have a better life and better future than what we were providing at the time,” Colvard said. 

Both Colvard and Velasquez have a history of drug addiction, arrests and drug charges. But they are working to leave that all behind. The program provided the two with support in their addiction recovery. But they have to stay sober, meet with their probation officers and show up for court dates.

“It was hard for me to practice honesty and telling on yourself, especially because at the beginning there is relapses, but they expect that. They don’t punish you for the relapses at first. They help you through that, and the way it is structured is amazing. I never thought that we would be where we are at today,” Colvard said.

Colvard still has three to four months left in the program. Velasquez has graduated and now plans to go back to school to become a dental hygienist. The couple tells Action News Now that they look forward to starting their careers.

“What we have done so far, it is possible for anybody to from no matter where you are at. I was over there with the homeless people before. I’ve been at the worst parts of Chico, and my life is amazing now,” Colvard said. 


In 2023, the Butte County Drug Court Program graduation success rate was 75%.

The drug court program has been in Butte County for about 30 years now, helping people overcome their addiction. 

Probation Officers who are a part of a collaborative Court team have additional responsibilities. They have regular team meetings, additional Court appearances, and added assessments and assignments.

Butte County Probation is fortunate to have officers who are willing to put in the extra work to help all participants succeed and make changes for the betterment of themselves and the community.

California Probation continues to be a proponent of positive change development and the connector in our justice system to the rehabilitative needs adults suffering from addiction need.

Follow CPOC on Social Media: CPOC is on Instagram, X, Facebook, LinkedIn, Threads, and YouTube! Follow us @caprobation on all platforms and tag in your posts when applicable. Access all social media on our Linktree here.

Read the full articles and view the TV coverage below: 

View photos from the graduation here.