Problem-Solving Courts


Problem-Solving Courts combine intensive judicial supervision, with rigorously monitored rehabilitation services and accountability, with a team approach to decision-making to help adults with substance use and/or mental health disorders from becoming repeat offenders.

Problem-Solving Courts increase public safety and save money by reducing re-arrest and incarceration for many offenders. They also provide social benefits to participants and help them reintegrate back into their communities.

The Problem-Solving Courts team is led by the judge and include a prosecutor, defense counsel or public defender, probation officer, clinical case manager, Veterans Justice Outreach or social workers, substance use or mental health treatment providers, resource/treatment coordinator, project manager, law enforcement liaison and PSC director/coordinator.

There are currently 20 Problem-Solving Courts operating in the Circuit Court of Cook County.

Problem-Solving Courts, also known as specialty courts or therapeutic courts, seek to help low-level criminal defendants suffering from underlying mental health, social or substance abuse problems from becoming repeat offenders. Problem-Solving Courts achieve this goal by providing treatment and intensive supervision.     

The Cook County Circuit Court has a countywide network of Problem-Solving Courts that includes:

With varying target populations, all Problem-Solving Courts seek to address the primary issues that contributed to the participant’s involvement in the judicial system. These issues are addressed with public safety in mind. 

In order for candidates to be eligible for the Problem-Solving Court program, they must first meet certain legal and clinical criteria. Cook County Problem-Solving Courts are designed primarily to assist people who have committed non-violent felony crimes. However, some Problem-Solving Courts in the suburbs of Cook County accept misdemeanor cases.

Problem-Solving Courts coordinate efforts between members of the Court system and organizations outside of the Court system in order to guarantee that participants receive sufficient counseling. Team members from the Court system are: prosecutors, public defenders, probation officers, social workers, clinical case managers and other justice system affiliates. Team members from organizations outside of the Court system include: substance abuse and mental health treatment providers, community partners and VA representatives. A judge assigned to each specific Problem-Solving Court leads these teams.

The teams design and implement individualized treatment plans for participants, which include linkage to community-based services that offer intensive treatment, interventions and supervision.

Problem-Solving Court judges are personally involved in many aspects of this process, including: team building, staff meetings and status hearings. Specific roles and responsibilities are explicitly assigned, but, through a coordinated effort, a participant’s case and compliance with program rules are monitored. 

All Problem-Solving Courts create specific goals for participants in favor of their advancement toward program completion. Participants appear in court regularly for status hearings in order for the judges to ensure ongoing interaction between participants and Court team members.

Problem-Solving Courts have positively affected the lives of participants and people directly and indirectly connected to them. Among these positive effects is the significant reduction of incarceration costs and recidivism rates of Problem-Solving Court participants. 

For additional information, please contact:

Kelly Gallivan-Ilarraza
Director of Problem-Solving Courts 

Main Location & Contact Information
George N. Leighton Criminal Courthouse
2600 S. California Ave.
Chicago, Illinois 60608

Judges Information

This section provides a short list of judges serving in the Problem-Solving Courts together with their courtroom location, room number, and telephone number. Click into each judge’s page to view their standing orders (if the judge has a standing order). Click “view all judges” to see a list of all Judges assigned to the Problem-Solving Courts.
Judge Assignment Primary Location Phone
Marisie, Jill C.
Circuit Judge
Problem-Solving Courts Third Municipal District - Rolling Meadows
Rolling Meadows Courthouse
Courtroom 208
(847) 818-2287
Walsh, Neera
Associate Judge
Criminal Division, Problem-Solving Courts
George N. Leighton Criminal Courthouse
Courtroom 400
(773) 674-3042
Burns, Charles P.
Circuit Judge
Criminal Division, Problem-Solving Courts
George N. Leighton Criminal Courthouse
Courtroom 402
(773) 674-3208
Cataldo, Joseph M.
Associate Judge
Problem-Solving Courts Third Municipal District - Rolling Meadows
Rolling Meadows Courthouse
Courtroom 109
(847) 818-2287
Gillespie, Aleksandra
Circuit Judge
Problem-Solving Courts Second Municipal District - Skokie
Skokie Courthouse
Courtroom 107
(847) 470-7500
Hill, Stanley L.
Associate Judge
Problem-Solving Courts Fourth Municipal District - Maywood
Maywood Courthouse
(708) 865-6060
Lanahan, Kathaleen T.
Circuit Judge
Problem-Solving Courts Fifth Municipal District - Bridgeview
Bridgeview Courthouse
Courtroom 108
(708) 974-6289

Additional Locations

Richard J. Daley Center
50 W. Washington St.
Chicago, Illinois 60602
Skokie Courthouse
5600 Old Orchard Road
Skokie, Illinois 60077
Rolling Meadows Courthouse
2121 Euclid Avenue
Rolling Meadows, Illinois 60008
Maywood Courthouse
1500 Maybrook Drive
Maywood, Illinois 60153
Bridgeview Courthouse
10220 S. 76th Avenue
Bridgeview, Illinois 60455
Markham Courthouse
16501 S. Kedzie Parkway
Markham, Illinois 60428