Will County Drug Court to graduate 14 on March 1

February 21

JOLIET – Fourteen people who had been facing criminal charges stemming from their drug abuse have kicked their addictions and will graduate from the Will County Drug Court Program during a ceremony scheduled for 1 p.m. March 1 at the Will County Office Building, 302 N. Chicago St.

The goal of the Will County Drug Court Program is to help abusers who have committed non-violent offenses break their addictions and integrate them back into society as productive, tax-paying community members. More than 150 people have successfully completed the program since its inception in 2000.

Drug Court graduation ceremonies are often emotional events. Circuit Judge Carla Alessio Policandriotes, who presides over Drug Court, will introduce graduates individually and discuss how the program helped them clean up their lives.

“Drug Court graduations are touching experiences for everyone who attends,” Policandriotes said. “Our graduates completed a tough program that required hard work to turn things around. By the time they receive their graduation plaques, they already will have proven they can remain drug-free, complete their education and hold down a job. The graduation ceremony validates their commitment to changing their lives.”

Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow, who spearheaded the development of the local Drug Court Program in the late 1990s, agreed.

“By breaking the addictions that drove their criminal behavior, we are helping participants rejoin the community as productive citizens who hold jobs, further their educations, own homes, raise families and pay taxes,” Glasgow said.

In 1997, Glasgow wrote a $30,000 planning grant application that was awarded by the U.S. Department of Justice. Planning efforts culminated two years later with the awarding of a $500,000 start-up grant from the Department of Justice as well as a $50,000 state grant.

In Drug Court, prosecutors and defense attorneys work with the judge and treatment providers to help abusers kick their addictions. It is a cost-effective alternative to dumping non-violent drug offenders into state prisons, where they cycle in and out of the system at recidivism rates as high as 70 percent.

Ninety-two percent of those who have graduated from Will County Drug Court have gone on to lead productive, drug-free lives. Only 8 percent of those who graduated have committed new criminal offenses over the past seven years.

The cost of operating the Will County Drug Court is a fraction of what it would cost taxpayers to arrest, prosecute and house these non-violent offenders in state prisons plus deal with the social costs stemming from their inability to find employment.

It costs roughly $3,000 to put a person through Drug Court. By contrast, it costs taxpayers annually more than $33,000 for each prisoner housed at the Will County Adult Detention Facility and more than $23,000 for those housed in state prisons.

Drug Court is a tough and intensive process. 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 Drug Court, go to https://willcountysao.com and click on Crime Prevention.

Naperville Exchange Club gives $5,000 grant to the Will County Children’s Advocacy Center

February 21

JOLIET – The Naperville Exchange Club recently gave the Will County Children’s Advocacy Center a $5,000 grant to assist in the fight against child sexual abuse.

Scot Warren, president of the Naperville Exchange Club, presented the grant to Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow during the February meeting of the Will County Board.

The grant will enable the center’s professionally trained staff to continue interviewing children who are the victims of sexual abuse. Their statements, which are recorded in a non-suggestive, non-threatening environment, have been used in the successful prosecution of literally hundreds of sexual predators in Will, Grundy and Kendall counties over the past decade.

Glasgow, who established the Children’s Advocacy Center in 1995, thanked Warren and his fellow Exchange Club members for a generous contribution that will allow the staff to continue protecting children. The center is a 501-c-3 non-profit organization that relies solely on grants, local funding, foundations and fundraisers to operate.

“I greatly appreciate the Naperville Exchange Club’s support for the important work conducted by the Will County Children’s Advocacy Center,” Glasgow said. “Since the center’s formation in 1995, we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of convictions against dangerous sexual predators. This funding will enable the center to continue its crucial mission.”

Sue Bloch, the center’s executive director, attended the Naperville Exchange Club’s Annual Allocation Luncheon on Feb. 16.

“The Children’s Advocacy Center provides services that are critical to the investigation and prosecution of extremely sensitive criminal cases,” Bloch said. “Financial support from community organizations like the Naperville Exchange Club is essential if we are to continue providing these services.”

For more information, contact The Will County Children’s Advocacy Center at (815) 774-4565, or visit the Web site at www.willcountychildadvocacy.com.

Glasgow named to Executive Committee for Illinois State’s Attorneys Association

January 16

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow was recently elected to serve on the Executive Committee of the Illinois State’s Attorneys Association.

Glasgow was unanimously elected to fill an opening on the 18-member committee during the annual conference of Illinois state’s attorneys, which was held in December in Chicago.

The Executive Committee is the governing body of the Illinois State’s Attorneys Association, an organization that consists of elected state’s attorneys who represent all 102 counties in Illinois.

The Executive Committee establishes the policies and guidelines for the association.

The committee also establishes the association’s legislative agenda, tracking bills that affect Illinois’ state’s attorneys. Committee members often are called upon to testify on legislation that is pending before the General Assembly in Springfield.

“I am pleased that my colleagues selected me to serve on the Executive Committee,” Glasgow said. “The state’s attorneys in Illinois, particularly those in the collar counties, have always worked together on issues that are critical to serving the interests of the citizens they represent. I look forward to enhancing that spirit of cooperation through my work on the Executive Committee.”

Glasgow’s one-year term took effect immediately upon his election.

Bolingbrook day care provider sentenced to six years for burning child with hot water

January 10

JOLIET — Will County State’s Attorney James W. Glasgow announced that a Bolingbrook day care provider who burned the hand of a 2-year-old child under her care has been sentenced to six years in prison.

Circuit Judge Carla Alessio Policandriotes sentenced Sharon Holt, 35, formerly of 139 Springleaf Drive, Bolingbrook on Wednesday. Holt cared for the boy at her home, which she called “Big Momma’s Day Care.”

Holt was convicted of one count of aggravated battery to a child at the conclusion of a four-day bench trial in October. The charge is a Class X felony that carries a minimum mandatory prison sentence of six years with no option for probation. She must serve 85 percent of her sentence. 

On Dec. 1, 2004, the defendant immersed the child’s hand in water that was hotter than 115 degrees. The child suffered a second-degree burn that required three surgeries and weeks of post-operative physical therapy to treat. His surgeon at one point feared his fingers might meld together while healing.

“Most day care providers in our community provide an invaluable resource for working parents, but this case is a parent’s worst nightmare,” Glasgow said. “Sharon Holt is going to prison for violating a sacred trust by scalding an innocent and vulnerable little boy and shattering his mother’s expectation of safety and security.”

Holt initially said the child suffered a cut, and she offered ointment to the boy’s mother when she picked him up that day. She later told police she accidentally ran hot water instead of cold on the boy’s hand while washing the cut. But three physicians testified during the trial that they examined the wound and found no evidence of a cut.

Dr. Emalee Flaherty, the director of the Child Protective Services team at Children’s Memorial Hospital, testified that she observed neither splash-mark burns nor parallel lines of burn, both of which would have been consistent with placing the child’s hand under hot running water. The wound was an immersion burn, with a clear line of injury on the front and back of the hand, she testified. As a result, she determined the injury was inflicted intentionally.

Glasgow praised Bolingbrook Det. Scott Lustik, who investigated the injury, as well as his two prosecutors, Assistant State’s Attorney Sarah Jones, who recently was appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court to serve as a Will County Circuit Judge, and Assistant State’s Attorney Jessica Colon-Sayre, for bringing a measure of justice to the boy and his family.