Jackson County Drug Court hopes to give people a second chance | Illinois News

By MAKAYLA HOLDER, Southern Illinois (Carbondale)

CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) — A drug treatment court traveled to Jackson County to help people facing drug addiction and criminal charges get their lives back, Judge Steven Bost said.

“The beauty of this program is that it’s been researched, studied, and studied, and it works,” Bost told the Southern Illinoisan. “For too long we have had people breaking the law. Instead of going back to what we’ve been doing for over 100 years by simply sending them somewhere else, we’re also taking ownership of this problem as a community. We all live here. They are our neighbours. I think it adds an extra layer of responsibility not only for the participant but also for the team.

In December, the Illinois Supreme Court approved the Jackson County Drug Treatment Court after extensive training and meetings, presiding judge Christy Solverson said.

Jackson County officials held their first meeting to review potential people who could participate in the program on Jan. 13, according to a news release.

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Solverson has been interested in establishing a Jackson County drug court since she joined the office as a judge, Solverson said.

“The Drug Treatment Court is a special type of treatment court that will target non-violent offenders with substance abuse disorders and place them in intensive drug treatment programs, which includes increased screening and drug monitoring and weekly contact with the drug court judge. according to a press release.

Bost was chosen to be the judge presiding over the program. Having consistent weekly or bi-weekly meetings with the same judge is a big factor in the success of the program and its triggers, Solverson said.

Those accepted into the program will receive social and mental health services, as well as other services, throughout their 12-24 month drug program.

Through training and various discussions with other drug courts, Bost has found that many of his preconceptions about these programs have been disproved by research.

“You have to trust the research because what they find is a bit counterintuitive,” Bost said. “In our hearts, we see someone young and vibrant who can go sideways with the wrong crew. We think we can save them and they can go to school and that kind of big movie scenario. But research shows that these are the people least likely to succeed.Research shows that the people most likely to succeed are those who are high risk, high need and will be a bit older. previous felony convictions.

Additionally, research from the National Association of Drug Court Professionals reported in 2018 that adult drug courts resulted in a 45% reduction in recidivism and that 75% of drug court graduates had no were arrested, compared to only 30% of those released from prison.

Addictions and drugs have been a huge problem in the United States for over 20 years and Jackson County courts have seen every case touched by it.

“Judges, probation officers, public defenders, prosecutors and police, we all live and work here. It’s our community,” Solverson said. “We see drug addiction and drug use every day firsthand. It’s in front of us and we see it in all its facets. We see it in the criminal court and in the criminal court. We see the criminal court, we see it in juvenile cases or we see it in child abuse and neglect cases. We also see it in family court; it destroys families. We see it in foreclosure and break and enter and detention People are losing their homes to drug use and addiction, and we’re starting to see that even in what we call municipal or city courts.

The prevalence of drugs and substance abuse in Jackson County is one of the main reasons many members of the state’s attorney’s office try to get out and speak at local schools.

“That’s one of the reasons we try to talk to high school students and communities, because that’s where it all starts for the addiction issue,” Solverson said. “It starts with just a few joints, it starts with eating the gummies at 16 because of the addictive nature of the under 23 brain.”

One criticism the team might see the program receiving is the idea that drug court is just a pass.

“Drug court is not a pass. It’s a process,” Solverson said. “Our goal is to bring people back so that they are upright members of the community and held accountable. Addiction is hard. It crosses all borders. No one is safe from it. No one wakes up and says today I’m going to be a drug addict or today I’m going to be an opioid addict or I’m going to be a meth addict. He is a silent thief. We now have the resources and team members to hopefully help these people get their lives back.

Jackson County Drug Court team members include the Jackson County State’s Attorney, Jackson County Public Defender, Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, Jackson County Probation, Gateway Foundation, Centerstone, and addiction medicine consultant Dr. Jeff Ripperda.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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