ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The 17th Judicial Circuit Court held its 32nd Therapeutic Intervention Program Court graduation ceremony on Wednesday.

The program, also known as “TIP Court,” is a program that helps people in the justice system. This was their first in-person graduation ceremony since COVID-19, and experts said that the TIP Court program reduces crime significantly.

“I was like, ‘is today real? Pinch me to see if I’m awake,'” said TIP Court graduate Crystal Hurd.

After three years of being a part of TIP Court, Hurd is now graduated and off of probation. She said that it was all worth it for her own life and her growing family.

“It came because I did what I had to, and it was all worth the things I had to go through, everything I had to go through was worth it,” Hurd said. “It wasn’t easy, it was a struggle.”

The TIP Court program is designed to help those who are going into the justice system who might have behavioral health issues, such as mental illness or addition. The program recognizes and provides intensive case management, intensive treatment services and intensive court supervision.

“Looking at people holistically and looking at what their needs might be, their strengths, their resilience, you know what you can work with to make them, as I say, heal, have hope and recover,” said Judge Janet R. Holmgren, presiding judge of TIP Court.

The Winnebago County program is one of the leading programs in the country. Holmgren has been a part of TIP Court for 15 years, and she said that seeing where these people were, and what they have accomplished through the program, is rewarding.”

“People can get better, and people can get themselves to a point where they’re no longer in the criminal justice system and they’re actually contributing members in our community,” Holmgren said.

Hurd said that she is excited to have a fresh start, and that this is only the beginning.

“If anybody out there is struggling, there is help and that they can get it, and if I can, anybody can,” Hurd said.

There are 65 people currently changing their lives around in TIP Court. More information on the program can be found on the 17th Judicial Circuit Court’s website.