Will County Offers Alternatives to Drug-Addicted Offenders
Will County Drug Court
In 1971, President Richard Nixon announced to the American public that the nation was at war. Instead of fighting a pitched military battle against another country, the enemy in this particular was drug abuse. In the months and years that followed, federal efforts to control illegal drugs were kicked into high gear with the creation of new agencies and regulations that increased the penalties associated with drug convictions. The “War on Drugs” continued for several decades, with presidents like Ronald Reagan expanding its reach. Criminal consequences became even more severe and prisons began filling to capacity and beyond with non-violent drug offenders.
More recently, however, government officials around the country are beginning to second-guess the draconian approach to illegal drug use and abuse, especially pertaining to offenders whose behavior is driven by bona fide addiction. Harsh criminal penalties are hardly a detriment for a person with addiction issues, and the War on Drugs did surprisingly little to rehabilitate those who were addicted to drugs. As a result, diversionary programs have become increasingly popular in many states, including here in Illinois. One such program is known as Drug Court and is specifically designed to break the cycle of addiction and integrating non-violent offender back into a law-abiding way of life.
According to the Will County State’s Attorney’s office , a single inmate at the Will County Adult Detention Facility costs taxpayers approximately $23,000 per year. By comparison, the cost for one offender to complete the Drug Court program is about $3,000. Beyond these savings, the average non-violent offender who is sent to prison is up to 10 times more likely to re-offend than an offender who graduates from Will County Drug Court.
Will County Drug Court is a comprehensive program that includes counseling, substance abuse treatment, job preparation, and careful supervision by the courts and other assigned individuals. In order to be eligible for Drug Court, an offender must be charged with a non-violent misdemeanor or felony and cannot have three or more non-violent felony convictions in the past 10 years. A defendant is also ineligible if he or she has been convicted of any violent crime during that same period. Pending DUI charges will also disqualify an individual.
The Drug Court Program
An applicant must admit that he or she has a drug or alcohol problem and be compliant with all treatment recommendations of the program. He or she will be required to sign a contract pleading guilty to the charged offense and waiving the right to a full trial and other specified rights. Throughout the course of the program, a participant must make regular court appearances, submit to random drug testing, and check in with a probation officer while continuing his or her ordered treatment. Successful completion of the program results in the original charges being stricken with leave to reinstate, making them eligible for expungement.
Call Us for Help
If you or someone you love is facing non-violent drug charges and you would like to know more about Drug Court or other diversionary programs, contact an experienced Joliet criminal defense attorney . Call 815-740-4025 to schedule a free consultation today.