JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced that two of his employees who are instrumental in the operation of the Will County Drug Court Program were recently honored during a national conference hosted by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP).
The NADCP sponsored an essay contest inviting members to explain what the “All Rise Philosophy” means to their drug court programs. Will County Drug Court Coordinator Julie McCabe-Sterr and Drug Court Case Manager Jason Florin both submitted essays that were selected by a panel of judges as two of the five national contest winners.
McCabe-Sterr’s essay was selected as the first-place winner of the contest. She presented her essay at the NADCP 16th Annual Training Conference, which was held earlier this month in Boston.
Will County Drug Court is an intensive program designed to integrate drug abusers who have committed non-violent offenses back into the community by helping them break their addictions. Defendants allowed into the program must remain drug-free, submit to random drug tests, find employment, complete counseling and treatment and attend weekly drug court sessions if they are to graduate.
Since the program’s inception in 2000, more than 200 clients have graduated from Will County Drug Court free of their addictions and prepared to become functioning members of society. State’s Attorney Glasgow spearheaded the development of the local drug court in the late 1990s when he applied for and received both federal and state grant funding to launch the program.
“Julie and Jason are dedicated and compassionate professionals who understand the importance of the drug court program to those who are fighting their addictions as well as to our community,” Glasgow said. “The court not only turns around the lives of its participants, it saves taxpayers thousands upon thousands of dollars each year in costs associated with repeatedly arresting, detaining, prosecuting and incarcerating people whose non-violent crimes are driven by their addictions.”
The “All Rise Philosophy” is part of the NADCP’s public education initiative to raise awareness of how rehabilitation is a more effective solution than imprisonment for qualifying addicts.
“When a court is not constrained by convention and dares to dream, we all rise,” McCabe-Sterr wrote in her essay. In her narrative, she describes the struggles the Will County Drug Court program faced in launching a recovery home that will provide additional services to clients who are fighting to break their addictions.
Florin’s essay recounts the story of Michael L., a drug court client who overcame many obstacles before successfully completing the program. “Michael went before the judge one final time to receive his graduation plaque and to hear those wonderful words: that his case had been dismissed. His applause was the loudest that day.”