Second Chances, a Recovery Coach, and NBC Nightly News in Boone County

On September 3, 2018, NBC Nightly News featured a story about Judge Will Thompson and his work with the 25th Circuit Adult Drug Court in Boone and Lincoln Counties. The story focused on second chances Judge Thompson bestows on criminal defendants through their hard work in the 25th Circuit Adult Drug Court.

One of the individuals featured in the story for receiving a second chance is Mallory Sutphin. Ms. Sutphin describes the consequences of her substance use and all that she has lost as a result of her addiction. Yet her restoration becomes clear around the three-minute mark when the story explains that “now Mallory is working as a recovery coach for the same county public defender’s office that once defended her.”

Ms. Sutphin is in a unique position as a recovery coach in the public defender corporation. She has training as a recovery coach as well as the lived experience of a person in long-term recovery with a criminal history. As the NBC News story explains, she is working for the very people who once defended her. Ms. Sutphin is also giving second chances to individuals who desire recovery opportunities and a new path out of the criminal justice system. She and the 25th Judicial Circuit Public Defender Corporation are working to zealously advocate for their clients while also helping restore them as positive, contributing, and healthy returning citizens of the community.

With a generous Community Impact grant from the United Way of Central West Virginia, the 25th Judicial Circuit Public Defender Corporation had a vision to install a trained recovery coach in the Boone County public defender office (part of the 25th Judicial Circuit) which led to hiring Ms. Sutphin. The public defender corporation hopes Ms. Sutphin’s work, the successes she has had connecting criminal defendants to treatment instead of incarceration, and the support she personally provides persons seeking recovery from substances and criminal offenses, will evolve into additional grant funding to continue her position in the future.

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