Drug treatment courts at Leighton Criminal Courthouse to receive Adult Redeploy Illinois (ARI) state grants totaling more than $1 million

Announcement, Press Release |

Two adult drug treatment courts operating in the Circuit Court of Cook County’s Criminal Division have been awarded Adult Redeploy Illinois (ARI) funding, totaling more than $1 million for the upcoming state fiscal year. The courts, which hear felony cases at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse, help people with low-level criminal offenses overcome drug problems and avoid future problems with the law.

The Access to Community Treatment (ACT) Court Drug Court Program, overseen by the Hon. Neera Walsh, has been approved by the ARI oversight board to receive $600,266. The Rehabilitation Alternative Probation/Women’s Rehabilitation Alternative Probation Drug Court Program ((W)RAP), overseen by the Hon. Charles Burns, will receive $466,538. 

This is the 10th year in a row ACT has received an ARI grant – the 6th year for (W)RAP.

“Our drug treatment courts exercise compassion in the pursuit of justice,” said Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans. “For certain non-violent offenders, treatment, not punishment, is the best option.”

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. Problem-solving courts operating in the Leighton Criminal Courthouse and the five suburban municipal district courts are all post-adjudicatory programs that comply with the Illinois Supreme Court Problem-Solving Courts Standards.

Also known as specialty or therapeutic courts, these courts help prevent high-risk, high-need individuals suffering from an underlying mental health, social, or substance use disorder from becoming repeat offenders. The goals of problem-solving courts are increased public safety for communities, increased treatment engagement by participants, improved quality of life for participants, and more effective use of community-based resources that allow diversion from prison. To achieve these goals, programs provide counseling, treatment, and intensive supervision. 

“On behalf of the ACT court team and our participants, we are appreciative of the continued funding and support from ARI to help people get treatment in the community and return to their communities as productive members of society,” Judge Walsh said.

Drug court participants, who are charged with non-violent crimes, are typically in the program for two years. Participants enter these programs voluntarily. Since the Circuit Court of Cook County budget does not fully fund problem-solving courts, various grants are essential to their operation.

ARI, which was established by the Illinois Crime Reduction Act of 2009 (Public Act 96-0761), provides financial incentives to local jurisdictions for programs that allow diversion of individuals from state prisons by providing community-based services.

The Circuit Court of Cook County first began receiving ARI funding in October 2013 to implement ACT court, and began receiving ARI funding in October 2018 to support (W)RAP.

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