The Will County Drug Court was the first of four problem-solving courts established by State’s Attorney James W. Glasgow in Will County. For two years, the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office participated in a $30,000 planning grant, through the United States Department of Justice, to establish a Drug Court Program in Will County. The drug court team researched the increase of criminal behavior as it relates to drug use, and studied existing programs to develop a local project.
Under the direction of the Will County State’s Attorney, the Will County Drug Court convened in the spring of 2000 through a $50,000 grant from the State of Illinois and a $500,000 comprehensive grant awarded from the United States Department of Justice. State’s Attorney Glasgow then applied for and successfully received federal grants in 2006, 2011, 2016 and 2019. The most recent federal grant is to increase capacity and services to those suffering from the ravages of opioid addiction.
The drug court movement began with the changing of a few minds at the grassroots level. People began to realize the existing approach to the drug using criminal — incarceration and more incarceration — wasn’t working.
The number of accused drug offenders kept increasing and there were simply not enough jails and prisons to hold them. On the other hand, drug courts provide these same offenders a structured program of treatment, counseling, mandatory drug testing, judicial monitoring, immediate sanctions and incentives and overall support from the court team to help offenders re-enter into the community healthy productive citizens. Drug Courts have proven that they can reduce the rate of recidivism and are by far the most effective tool in protecting society from the ravages of drug abuse.
Drug Court is a voluntary program, but participation is subject to meeting eligibility criteria and being staffed and approved for admission into the program by the team. Will County Drug Court has been built on an extensive history of collaboration among key stakeholders, including the 12th Judicial Circuit Court, Will County, the Will County State’s Attorney, the Will County Public Defender, the Will County Sheriff, the Will County Adult Court Services Department, Center for Correctional Concerns, treatment providers and the community.