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Illinois Drug Courts Support Rehabilitation of Addicted Offenders

Posted on in Drugs and Narcotics

Chicago drug crimes defense attorneyDrug addiction continues to be a serious problem in Illinois and across the United States. Unfortunately, many of the laws and measures that have been enacted in the so-called “War on Drugs” over the last few decades have focused primarily on harsh penalties for drug offenders. While there is something to said for creating deterrents to criminal behavior, a lengthy prison sentence or hefty fine is likely to do little to solve the underlying issue of addiction. With that in mind, states around the country, including Illinois, have developed programs designed to help non-violent, drug-addicted offenders kick their destructive habits and focus on rehabilitating their lives.

Mandating Treatment

One of the most effective programs for drug-addicted offenders is known colloquially as Drug Court. The program may have a more specific title in each of the counties in which it has been established, but most Drug Courts—especially in Illinois—are similar in their goals and procedures. The importance of such programs has escalated in recent years with the continued concerns over methamphetamines and resurgence of heroin abuse as a nationwide epidemic. Many addicts will only get treatment if they are somehow coerced into doing so, and subsequent to an arrest, that is exactly the intent of Drug Courts. In most cases, the results of coerced treatment are the same, if not better, than voluntary treatment, making a strong case for the continuation of such programs.

Drug Court in Cook County

Locally, the Cook County Drug Court Treatment Program consists of two, gender-specific programs designed to help those who were already on probation when they were arrested for a non-violent drug crime. Most offenders who qualify were initially on probation for a similar drug offense, providing the indication that the offender is dealing with addiction issues. To be considered eligible for Drug Court, an offender must meet the following criteria:

  • The offense for which he or she is facing charges is not a violent crime;
  • The defendant must acknowledge his or her drug use or dependence;
  • The defendant must be willing to participate in a treatment program; and
  • The defendant must not have been convicted of a violent crime in the past 10 years.

Instead of being sent to prison for violating probation, an eligible offender is resentenced to a two-year probation program which includes substance abuse treatment and mandatory drug testing. The participant must also appear before the drug court judge for periodic updates, report in with a probation officer, attend group sessions as ordered, and any other treatment or counseling deemed appropriate. If the participant successfully completes the program, his or her probation is considered satisfactorily terminated.

Call a Cook County Drug Crimes Lawyer

Participation in Cook County’s Drug Court program may not be appropriate for every situation, and an experienced Chicago criminal defense attorney can help you explore your available options. Call 773-276-5541 for a free consultation at Luisi Legal Group today. Let us work with you in protecting your future.

 

Sources:

http://illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/methnet/fightmeth/courts.html

http://www.cookcountycourt.org/ABOUTTHECOURT/CountyDepartment/CriminalDivision/SpecialtyTreatmentCourts/DrugCourtTreatmentProgram.aspx

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