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Eight participants in a federal program aimed at helping ex-convicts stay off drugs will be honored by their friends and families at a graduation ceremony with a special guest: U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr.

Holder is scheduled to speak to graduates of the Court Assisted Recovery Effort at a ceremony Thursday in U.S. District Court.

The yearlong program is for inmates who have completed federal prison terms and are on supervised release. It requires participants to meet with a judge weekly to talk about their efforts to find jobs and stay out of trouble. Participants also are referred for treatment, job training and counseling.

Boston was one of the first federal court districts to have such a program. There are now more than a dozen other districts running similar programs.

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