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(W)RAP Court receives national recognition as mentor court

Released On 03/25/2022

The Rehabilitative Alternative Probation and Women’s Rehabilitative Alternative Probation ((W)RAP) Drug Court Program has been named one of just 10 national mentor treatment courts by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) and the U.S. Department of Justice. The program will receive an award marking the distinction on May 19, 2022, at the George N. Leighton Criminal Court Building.

National mentor courts are exemplary treatment courts selected to serve a three-year term as model programs to assist new or growing courts. These top-tier programs follow evidence-based best practices and play a significant role in national training, technical assistance, and research efforts.

As part of the mentor court network for 2022-2024, the (W)RAP Court will help develop, identify, and test national best practices and provide technical assistance to jurisdictions interested in implementing an adult drug treatment court, including hosting site visits by team members from other jurisdictions around the country. (In 2022, all site visits will be conducted virtually.)

(W)RAP is one of 20 Problem-Solving Courts in the Circuit Court of Cook County, which include 7 Drug Treatment, 7 Mental Health and 6 Veterans Treatment courts. These courts combine intensive judicial supervision, with rigorously monitored rehabilitation services, strict oversight and accountability, and a team approach to decision-making to help individuals with substance abuse and/or mental health disorders from becoming repeat offenders.

To deal specifically with younger people between the ages of 18 and 26, the county also has Restorative Justice Community Court and a SEED (Supporting Education and Employment Development) court aimed at low-level drug offenders. Participation in any of these programs is voluntary.

Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans lauded the (W)RAP program as one of the Circuit Court of Cook County programs that provides individuals an opportunity to make changes in their lives that help them stay out of the criminal justice system.

“We continue to be encouraged by the success of our Problem-Solving Courts, including the (W)RAP program, and we’re gratified by this national recognition,” said Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans. “One of our goals as a court is not just to punish, but to move people away from criminal activity and allow them to become productive citizens. All of our Problem-Solving Courts are doing excellent work to help the public, and seven of these courts are drug courts, located in the Criminal Courthouse and every municipal district.”

There are nearly 4,000 treatment courts nationwide, considered the cornerstone of justice reform.

“It is a great honor to recognize this court as one of only ten mentor courts in the country,” said NADCP Chief of Training and Research Carolyn Hardin. “This program is a shining example of how a combination of accountability and treatment can save lives, reunite families, and make the community safer. As a mentor court, this program is helping to transform our justice system and leading countless people who might otherwise be incarcerated into lives of long-term recovery.”

The (W)RAP Program was founded in 1998 at the George N. Leighton Criminal Court Building. It is an alternative sentencing approach for individuals who have committed non-violent drug related offenses. The goal of this program is to assist individuals in their recovery from addiction to drugs or alcohol. Throughout their time in this two-year program, participants receive support, services, and accountability as they readjust to the community and navigate sobriety.

The Honorable Charles Burns, who presides over the (W)RAP Program court, said that he and his team are “humbled” by the designation and honor.

“We share this achievement with the many partners who contribute to our program,” said Judge Burns. “The Circuit Court of Cook County has continually prioritized these progressive justice programs. We are looking forward to interacting with other drug courts throughout the country.”

"Problem-solving courts offer an alternative to incarceration through their therapeutic response to individuals with entrenched needs, such as drug addiction and mental illness, which drive reoffending,” said Kelly Gallivan-Ilarraza, director of the Problem-Solving Courts for the Office of the Chief Judge. “Judge Burns and the (W)RAP team are dedicated to providing their participants the community treatment and services necessary to drive behavior change."

NADCP’s mentor court network is supported by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. To learn more, visit ndci.org/resource/training/visit-a-mentor-court/. The link to the Circuit Court of Cook Count’s (W)RAP program is here.


About NADCP

NADCP is the premier training, membership, and advocacy organization for the treatment court model, which now includes nearly 4,000 programs found in every state and four territories of the United States. Since 1994, NADCP and its divisions—the National Drug Court Institute, the National Center for DWI Courts, and Justice For Vets—have trained hundreds of thousands of professionals spanning the legal, clinical, psychosocial, and law enforcement fields. NADCP regularly publishes cutting-edge, research-based materials, and the association works tirelessly to improve the response of the American justice system to people with substance use and mental health disorders. NADCP is a 501(c)(3) organization.

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