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The Purpose and Operation of Drug Courts in Illinois

Posted on in Criminal Law

drug courts in illinois, Crystal Lake criminal defense attorney, drug addicts, drug courts in Illinois, drug crimes, drug offenders, drug-related crimes, drug-related offenses, non-violent criminalsDrug-related offenses are some of the most commonly charged crimes in the country. This can end up being problematic because long-term prison sentences for non-violent crimes can still drastically reduce a person's opportunities after release. Additionally, it can encourage recidivism, the commission of further crimes, after release from prison.

Prison sentences can often place non-violent drug offenders with people convicted of more serious crimes. Some research has shown that this has the potential to harden non-violent criminals and provide them with training in more serious crimes, which can result in escalating offenses upon release.

The Purpose of Drug Courts

Drug courts exist to prevent these unfortunate and overly-harsh consequences from happening. They allow the government to stop non-violent drug offenders from becoming victims of circumstance by providing them with treatment rather than simple incarceration.

The Illinois law that created drug courts acknowledges the strain that drug use and drug-related crimes place on the criminal justice system. The goal of these courts is to identify drug addicts and to move them into more rehabilitative programs. These programs can help drug-addicted offenders recover from their addictions, which will reduce the overall crime rate.

According to statistics provided by the Illinois Attorney General, drug courts experience a considerably lower recidivism rate than ordinary courts. Ordinary courts experience a 45 percent recidivism rate, while the rate for drug courts is between 5 and 28 percent—a significant reduction. Additionally, the system allows these sorts of offenders to avoid spending time in prison. This can free up space in prisons, which helps reduce prison overcrowding and can make the criminal justice system run in a smoother, more cost-efficient manner.

How Drug Courts Operate

Drug courts operate by identifying drug-addicted, non-violent offenders who may benefit from special rehabilitative programs more than they would from simple incarceration. Prosecutors and defense attorneys then work together to develop a treatment program for these offenders to help them move past their addictions. In addition, the court monitors the offenders considerably more closely than other sorts of community supervision programs like probation. For instance, the court can inspect a defendant's compliance using frequent, random drug testing. This system forces an offender to work through issues with addiction under the threat of law.

When offenders successfully complete the program, they can have the charges against them dropped, which helps them move forward with their lives. When offenders enter into the program after they have already been convicted, then they may be eligible to have their sentence reduced after their successful completion.

If you have recently been charged with a drug-related crime and would like to learn more about your options, contact a Crystal Lake criminal defense attorney today. Our firm is here to help you understand your rights and form the best plan for you.

Illinois State Bar Association State Bar of Wisconsin Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce Illinois Trial Lawyers Association McHenry County Bar Association
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