Drug Treatment Court Programs

Drug Treatment Courts are one of the Problem-Solving Court programs designed to provide participants with treatment and resources to improve their health in the community and avoid incarceration. 

The Circuit Court of Cook County has four different Drug Treatment Court programs:

Drug Treatment Court includes supervision and frequent court dates where participants have contact with a team. The team includes the judge, prosecutor, defense council or private lawyer, probation officer (PO), clinical case manager and Problem-Solving Court director/coordinator. The key to success is for participants to be honest with themselves, the judge and their team.

Each program has four (4) phases or parts. Each phase has different goals, outlined in the handbooks. During each phase, participants focus on developing skills and behaviors to help them achieve the outlined goals to move to the next phase. Typically, the program takes about two (2) years to finish. During the program, participants will regularly report to a PO and take random drug/alcohol tests.

A clinical case manager develops a clinical treatment plan, then connects participants to treatment and resources based on their individual needs. Participants must actively participate in treatment. The team will support participants while monitoring their progress. Participants must follow the instructions given to them by the judge and the team. Participant's progress will be reviewed by the team and discussed with them during court, which they attend with the other people in the program. This allows participants to learn from each other as they advance through the program. 

For Participants

    You can apply if you have been charged with one (1) or more felony non-violent offenses. To be considered, you must:

    • Have a diagnosed substance use disorder as defined by in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5)
    • Be willing to be honest about your drug/alcohol use
    • Be willing to join a drug treatment program (outpatient or one where you live for some time) 
    • Haven’t already been in this program three (3) times or more already
    • Agree to take drug/alcohol tests
    • Agree to an interview to help the team learn about your substance use, mental health issues and of your risk of being re-arrested, to see if the program can meet your needs 

    Our team will also support you and connect you to resources along the way. Typically, the program takes about 2 years to finish.

    Honesty with yourself, the judge and the team is the key to success in the program.

    Program Requirements:

    • Report to your PO and appear in court whenever asked.
    • Tell your PO right away if you move, get a new phone number or get or lose a job.
    • Tell your PO right away if you have contact with law enforcement, you are in the hospital or your medicines change.
    • Take part in any random drug and alcohol testing we ask of you.
    • Try to pay any fees you may owe, if that applies (please note: if you are not able to pay any fees you owe, that will not affect your progress in the program.)
    • Take part in any assessments the team asks of you.
    • Take part in in- or outpatient substance use, medical or mental health treatment or housing placements asked of you by the team.
    • Attend sober support group meetings and find a sponsor.
    • Take part in any other treatment or counseling we ask of you.
    • Take part in education programs, high school equivalency (such as GED classes) programs or job training program we ask of you.
    • Complete community service hours we ask of you.

    For Service Providers

      The Drug Court Treatment Program provides referrals for a wide variety of wrap around services including:

      • Detox
      • Residential substance use treatment
      • Recovery home services
      • Employment
      • Housing
      • Trauma-informed mental health services
      • Parenting classes
      • Recovery meetings
      • Digital and financial literacy courses
      • Legal aid

      We are always looking to expand its partnerships with community agencies and programs. If you are interested in partnering, please send an email to Problemsolvingcourts@cookcountyil.gov.

      For Attorneys

        • Charged with a nonviolent, drug-related violation
        • May not have been convicted within the past 10 years of a crime of violence as defined by 730 ILCS 167/20(b)(3)
        • Must admit substance use or addiction to drugs
        • Diagnosis of substance use disorder as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) by Drug Court Treatment Program Case Manager
        • Meet minimum risk score on the screening tool administered by the Cook County Adult Probation Department
        • Agree to participate in any recommended substance use or mental health treatment
        • If the defendant wishes to be admitted to the Drug Court Treatment Program, he or she is required to enter a plea of guilty pursuant to which he or she is resentenced/sentenced to a period of 2 years probation.
        • Candidates who are ineligible or choose not to participate may elect to plead guilty and accept any other negotiated sentence or to plead not guilty and contest the violation of probation or charge(s) in the pending case.
        • A participant may be discharged from the program in one of four (4) ways: successful discharge; neutral discharge; unsuccessful discharge; and voluntary withdrawal.

        Additional Info & Locations

          • Over 85% of defendants found acceptable for the Drug Court Treatment Program have entered treatment.
          • About 49% of admitted participants have successfully completed the program.
          • According to a study of graduates from 2014-2021, only 3.8% were charged with new felonies within 1 year of graduating. Within 3 years, 9.6% were charged with new felonies and within 5 years, 10.4% of graduates were charged with new felony convictions. 

          First Municipal District (City of Chicago) - Drug Treatment Court Programs

          The Criminal Division oversees the programs below, located in the Chicago Leighton Criminal Courthouse:

          Suburban Municipal Districts - Drug Treatment Court Program 

          Each of the suburban districts below participates in the Suburban Municipal District - Drug Treatment Court Program:

          If you do not speak or understand English, you have the right to have an interpreter at no cost to you. This person will interpret the court meetings each time you attend court. All court buildings in Cook County have Spanish and Polish interpreters available. You or your lawyer can ask for an interpreter at any time. You or your lawyer can order an interpreter for any other language through the Office of Interpreter Services.

          If you are deaf or hard of hearing, the court will assign you a sign language interpreter and/or provide other Deaf / Hard of Hearing Access services. They are available at all court buildings in Cook County.

          Contact Accessibility Services for other ADA accessibility accommodations and requests.

          You can request accommodation services 14 days in advance of your court date and the respective office will follow up within 7 days from the date they receive your request.

          March 22, 2022 - 'I call it progressive justice': Shutdown by the pandemic, a court program gives drug offenders a second chance

          January 28, 2022 - Cook County drug court: Inside Rehabilitative Alternative Program, Judge Charles Burns gives second chances, more if convicts complete addiction program | Chicago Sun-Times | Frank Main

          June 9, 2021 - Cook County Program Helps Recovering Drug Addicts Find a New Lease on Life | Brandis Friedman | WTTW

          May 30, 2017 - Cook County Drug Court Program Designed to Break Cycle of Addiction | Brandis Friedman | WTTW