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Recovery home founder sentenced to 30 years in drug case

March 14, 2018

A woman who started a drug recovery home for women in southern Indiana has been sentenced to 30 years in prison on a drug-dealing charge that had languished in court since her 2013 arrest.

Livingston was sentenced Monday after pleading guilty to charges that include drug-dealing, possession and having the ingredients to make drugs, the News and Tribune reported. She was arrested in Paoli for possession of cocaine and over 5 grams of methamphetamine. Livingston was also found with the ingredients to cook methamphetamine.

More than 50 of Livingston’s supporters attended her hearing at Orange County Circuit Court. They had left disappointed that the judge didn’t give more consideration to Livingston’s work founding the BreakAway program in New Albany.

Janis Barnett, the BreakAway’s program director, said that the judge’s ruling shows the judicial system doesn’t understand addiction.

“You know, a lot of people do the things that they did because of the person that they were,” Barnett said. “I think that the things we do in recovery should carry more weight than what we did in our past. I understand that there’s laws, but I think those laws for addiction need to be changed.”

Orange County Circuit Court Judge Steven Owen also ordered for Livingston to be admitted into Indiana’s Purposeful Incarceration Program for substance abuse therapy. The program could help Livingston be eligible for early release.

“Justice isn’t a public opinion poll,” Owen said. “It’s not a show of hands. It should be consistent.”

After sentencing, Livingston addressed those who still suffer from addiction.

“If they don’t change their life now, they’ll end up 50 years old in prison like me,” Livingston warned before directing her attention to the BreakAway women. “You know, that’s what I want all of you girls to know is don’t end up like me.”

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