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Court gets federal help for drug treatment program

Released On 01/13/2022

A new federal grant will boost three existing suburban court programs that help drug users. 

The Bureau of Justice Assistance has awarded $550,000 over four years to the Drug Treatment Courts in the Fourth Municipal District (Maywood), the Fifth Municipal District (Bridgeview) and Sixth Municipal District (Markham). The grant will pay for clinical case management for these three south suburban courts. 

Drug Treatment Courts are part of the Circuit Court of Cook County’s network of “Problem-Solving Courts,” which also includes Veterans’ Treatment Courts and Mental Health Treatment Courts. These courts are in the Leighton Criminal Court Building as well as in all the suburban municipal district courts. 

Also known as specialty or therapeutic courts, these courts seek to help high-risk/high-need individuals suffering from an underlying mental health, social or substance use disorder from becoming repeat offenders. Problem-solving courts achieve this goal by providing counseling, treatment, and intensive supervision. 

Drug court participants typically are in the program for two years. Participants, who are charged with non-violent crimes, participate in the programs voluntarily. 

Problem-Solving Courts Director Kelly Gallivan-Ilarraza noted that the Circuit Court of Cook County budget does not cover everything for problem-solving courts, so various grants are essential to their operation. 

“We are extremely grateful for the Bureau of Justice Assistance grant,” Gallivan-Ilarraza said. “It will enable us to continue to help people get out of the cycle of substance use and criminal behavior and allow them to change their lives.” 

 “For nonviolent defendants who are driven by drug addiction, the drug treatment courts exercise compassion in the pursuit of justice. Treatment, not punishment, is the best option to pursue,” Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans said. 

“Often, these individuals would rather receive a short-term jail sentence so that they can start using again upon release,” Judge Evans said. “Instead, we provide a long-term effective treatment plan that can help end their suffering and the suffering of their families and friends. This grant will help defendants find a future of sobriety.” 

The suburban courts work with case managers from TASC Inc., who provide clinical assessments of all defendants entering the drug courts. The case managers determine the level of treatment needed and whether it will require out-patient or in-patient services. 

The case managers are also trained to help defendants enroll in Medicaid and re-enroll as required every year. Medicaid coverage can pay for the drug court defendant’s treatment. 

A total of 41 participants graduated from drug court programs last year. There are a total of 268 current participants. 

The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, a federal agency that provides federal leadership, grants, training, technical assistance and other resources to improve the nation’s capacity to prevent and reduce crime, assist victims and enhance the rule of law by strengthening the criminal and juvenile justice systems. 


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