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Drug Court Accreditation Boosts Addiction Treatment
The Illinois Supreme Court recently accredited McDonough County's drug court program.
A federal grant and a drug court fee has helped the program offer addiction treatment and counseling services for inmates with substance use disorders.
Ninth Judicial Circuit Court Judge William Poncin explained that it is more cost efficient to rehabilitate inmates than to incarcerate them.
Poncin praised the efforts of the McDonough County Drug Court team.
A portion of the grant went toward hiring Kara Hammond as the program's new drug court and probation officer.
Hammond screens program applicants to see if they meet qualifying criteria. Some are disqualified for having a history of violent criminal offenses and non-probationary felonies.
Offenders at high-risk of recidivism, Hammond said, are most likely to be open to the programs's intervention efforts and recover.
If accepted into the program, participants go on probation and are required to take drugs tests twice a week and regularly meet with drug court counselors.
Drug court officials track their location via a phone app. Hammond and police officers will visit a participant's residence to follow up with them and search for drug paraphernalia.
Twenty people on average go through the county's drug court.
To graduate from the program, a participant must have permanent housing and be in school or have a job.
Hammon said that approximately 75 percent of their patients comply with the drug court system.