September 1, 2010
JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced that Will County Drug Court graduated 17 people who have successfully completed the program and are now living drug-free lives.
A graduation ceremony was held Thursday, August 26, 2010 at the Will County Office Building. Graduates from Joliet, Lockport, Plainfield and Wilmington joined 250 others who have graduated from Drug Court since the program’s inception in 1999.
In Drug Court, prosecutors and defense attorneys work with the judge and treatment providers to help abusers who have committed non-violent offenses battle their addictions.
The graduation ceremony is the final step in an intensive year-long process. Those allowed into the program are carefully screened and must remain drug free, submit to random drug tests, find employment, follow through with treatment and attend weekly Drug Court sessions if they are to graduate.
Circuit Judge Carla Alessio Policandriotes, who presides over Drug Court, introduced the graduates and discussed how the program helped them clean up their lives.
“Drug Court requires a tremendous commitment from these defendants,” said State’s Attorney Glasgow, who spearheaded the creation of the program in the late 1990s. “Failure to complete the program means they will be held accountable for their criminal charges. However, success means leading drug-free lives and rejoining their communities as productive citizens without charges hanging over their heads.”
The state’s attorney noted that programs like Drug Court are a value for local taxpayers. For each dollar spent on a prevention program like Drug Court, the state saves ten times the money compared to the costs of prosecuting and incarcerating non-violent defendants.
Also in attendance to congratulate Drug Court graduates was one of the program’s first graduates, Miller Taylor. Since successfully completing the program a decade ago, Taylor, 67, has continued to attend Drug Court each week to mentor participants who are battling addictions.
State’s Attorney Glasgow and the Will County Board recently honored Taylor for his dedication and commitment to the program by naming the Drug Court’s first recovery home the “Miller Taylor House.” The home will house five male Drug Court participants who are nearing completion of the program.
Will County Sheriff’s Deputy Steve Hunter arrested Taylor in 1999, prompting him to enter the Drug Court Program. At Glasgow’s request, Deputy Hunter paid a surprise visit to the graduation. Taylor had expressed a wish to meet with Hunter and thank him.
“Deputy Hunter had a profound impact on Miller Taylor’s life,” Glasgow said. “If he hadn’t arrested him on that night 11 years ago, Miller never would have entered Drug Court and he might never have turned around his life. Today, every Drug Court participant draws strength and courage from Miller’s triumph over a once destructive addiction.”
For more information on Drug Court, go to http://www.willcountysao.com/ and click on Crime Prevention.
Charles B. Pelkie
(815) 530-7110 (cellular)
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