Utah Stories

The Other Side Academy in Salt Lake City Reforms Criminals, Convicts, Drug Addicts and Alcoholics

The Other Side Academy has changed thousands of lives reforming ex-felons, ex-convicts, and drug addicts to become productive citizens.


David Durocher is the Executive Director of the Other Side Academy. His leadership role has changed thousands of lives reforming ex-felons and ex-convicts and drug addicts to become productive citizens. How do they have such incredible success while taking zero local, state, or federal tax dollars?

In a word, Durocher says, “it’s accountability”. Holding everyone accountable for their actions, and calling out everyone is what changes people’s lives. 

The Other Side Academy offers a two-year program taking no money from participants; using no counselors, no psychologists, and no experts in addiction. Instead, they hire graduates who have successfully completed their program, which includes working at one of its support facilities thrift shops, and moving company on a daily basis while receiving room and board. 

Durocher explains that he was using drugs and alcohol himself and engaged in criminal activity at a very young age. He was arrested multiple times for drug trafficking serving multiple back-to-back sentences throughout most of his twenties and thirties. He says that prison has changed his life for the better. And he believes that prisons are the answer to deterring criminal behavior. Durocher adds that he was incredibly fortunate to be accepted to Delancy Street in San Francisco, rather than serve a 22-year prison sentence. That program, which operates under the same model as the Other Side Academy, reformed him into a person who gets his fix from helping others rather than using drugs.

Durocher and the Other Side Academy’s philosophy is simple: The best people to help reform criminals are former criminals; the best to help drug addicts beat their addictions are former drug addicts; the best people to help the homeless are formerly homeless people. This episode is full of so much excellent advice it’s a must-watch for anyone who has a family member or is personally undergoing the hardships of addiction or ongoing criminal behavior.


The Other Side Academy: A Home for Recovering Addicts and Criminals in Salt Lake City

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