The Illinois legislature has provided for access to treatment as an alternative to prison for nonviolent offenders with substance abuse or dependence disorders. In response to this legislative initiative, DeKalb County created the DeKalb County Drug/DUI Court: C.L.E.A.N. Program (Choosing Life and Ending Abuse Now). This program was developed to help addicted defendants overcome their addiction and alcohol problems so that they can be rehabilitated and re-integrated into society. Drug Court is a five-phase intervention program and DUI Court is a four-phase program for adults who have plead guilty to one or more nonviolent felony offenses and who need assistance in remaining drug free and sober. The fact that in 2010, incidents involving cannabis formed the largest category of crimes committed in DeKalb, only serves to underscore the importance of the Drug/DUI Court program. The DeKalb County State’s Attorney’s Office plays a key role tn all aspects of the Drug/DUI Court: C.L.E.A.N. Program.
Initial screening of a prospective participant in the program is the responsibility of the Drug Court Coordinator. Even if the initial screening results in a positive recommendation however, it Is the responsibility of the State’s Attorney to review the record and either recommend that the individual be accepted into the program or rejected and referred for prosecution through the traditional adjudication process.
But the responsibilities of the State’s Attorney’s Office do not end with making recommendations. Throughout the months during which defendants participate in the program, an experienced Assistant State’s Attorney is assigned to be a member of the all-important Drug Court Team which monitors and assesses the progress of each participant on a weekly basis. At meetings of the Drug Court Team, the State’s Attorney will help manage the case by making recommendations for sanctioning negative behavior by participants and offering incentives for those struggling to succeed in the program.
The DeKalb State’s Attorney’s ongoing involvement with the Drug/DUI Court program reflects a commitment from the Office to hold participants responsible for their actions while offering an alternative to incarceration for non-violent drug and alcohol offenders. Given its overall responsibility for promoting an environment of public safety and security, the DeKalb County
State’s Attorney’s Office’s role in the Drug/DUI Court program can help with the rehabilitation of individual offenders while
serving the public interest by reducing recidivism and the costs associated with long prison terms.