JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced that the Will County Drug Court has helped another 13 people break their addictions and avoid criminal charges stemming from their drug abuse.
The 13 former abusers graduated from the Will County Drug Court last week (Thursday, Jan. 22, 2009). Since 2000, 217 people have graduated from drug court and have reclaimed their lives. The program boasts a 90-percent success rate, which means that fewer than 10 percent of its graduates commit new offenses.
State’s Attorney Glasgow spearheaded the creation of the Will County Drug Court in the late 1990s. Drug court helps abusers who committed non-violent criminal offenses kick their addictions and return to their community as productive, tax-paying citizens.
“Our drug court is a success on multiple fronts,” Glasgow said. “We’re working with people whose lives were driven and devastated by their drug addictions, and we’re helping them become productive members of their community rather than a drain on society. And for each dollar we spend on a prevention program like drug court, we can save ten times the money in remedial costs.”
Circuit Judge Carla Alessio Policandriotes, who presides over drug court, said that by 2011 the program will have saved taxpayers a projected $14.3 million in remedial costs that include jailing defendants rather than providing treatment for their addictions. Those savings are based upon the projected number of people who will have gone through the program. It costs only $3,000 to put an individual through drug court.
“Defendants who enter this program don’t receive free “Get Out of Jail” cards,” Judge Policandriotes said. “Drug court requires strong commitments by participants who are willing to work to kick their addictions and turn their lives around. But when they graduate, they have the necessary tools to stay clean and achieve their goals in life.”
In drug court, prosecutors and defense attorneys work with the judge and treatment providers to help abusers kick their addictions. The program is a cost-effective alternative to dumping non-violent drug offenders into state prisons, where they cycle in and out of the system.
Defendants allowed into the program are carefully screened. They 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.
For more information on Will County Drug Court, go to the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office Web site at https://willcountysao.com and click on Crime Prevention.