Durbin Receives Update On Cook County Drug Court And Veterans Treatment Court From Judges

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today met virtually with Cook County Court Judge Neera Walsh, who presides over Cook County Access to Community Treatment (ACT) Drug Court; and Cook County Court Judge Michael Hood, who presides over the Cook County Veterans Treatment Court; to receive an update on the courts’ programming and services to provide individualized, evidence-based treatment and recovery support to defendants. During their meeting, Durbin discussed his support for federal grant programs that provide funding to drug and veterans treatment courts.

“When our criminal justice system turns toward solutions like community-based treatment and vocational training, we can reduce recidivism, offer past offenders a path forward, and address some of the root causes of crime,” said Durbin. “I’m pleased to see the work that Judges Walsh and Hood are accomplishing at the veterans and drug courts in Cook County. I will continue to support federal funding programs that help these courts carry out their important role.”

A photo of the virtual meeting is available here.

There are more than 3,800 drug and veterans treatment courts across the U.S., including 99 in Illinois. Nationwide, these programs serve more than 150,000 individuals as an alternative to incarceration. Research by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has shown that treatment courts significantly reduce recidivism and save costs for the criminal justice system.

The ACT Drug Court offers treatment to defendants who have severe substance abuse disorders. To be accepted into ACT Court, defendants must plead guilty to non-violent offenses and complete 18 months of court-supervised, community-based treatment, including cognitive behavioral therapy, vocational training, and housing services. Those who successfully complete the program have their case dismissed and their judgement vacated. Defendants charged with violent crimes are not eligible.

The Cook County Veterans Treatment Court serves eligible veterans in a similar court-supervised, community-based treatment program.