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February 23, 2019

5/16/2018 2:33:00 PM
Drug Court training here this week
Drug court staffs from the Second Judicial Circuit and other area substance-abuse treatment providers will participate in training at Lincoln Trail College Wednesday and Thursday.

The training is sponsored and hosted by Crawford County RE-NEW and Lawrence County URCHOICE and will be presented by the Illinois Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health and Justice. Drug court staffs from Crawford, Lawrence, Wayne, Richland, Wabash, Edwards, Franklin, and White counties will be attending, along with treatment professionals from Bond, Franklin, Wabash, Crawford, Lawrence, and Jackson counties.

The purpose of drug courts is to stop the abuse of alcohol and other drugs and related criminal activity. Drug courts promote recovery through a coordinated response to offenders dependent on drugs. Realization of these goals requires a multi-team approach including judges, prosecutors, defense counsel, probation, treatment professionals and law enforcement. The criminal justice system has the unique ability to influence a person shortly after a significant triggering event such as arrest, and thus persuade or compel that person to enter and remain in treatment.

Drug courts require regular court appearances, mandatory attendance at treatment, and frequent and random testing for drug and alcohol use. The ultimate goals are to reduce costs for the criminal justice system, reduce recidivism, and promote lives of recovery and stability.

"Training for all drug court staffs is a requirement for certification of the drug courts but, because of budgetary constraints, no state money is provided for that training," said Judge Mark Shaner. "URCHOICE and RE-NEW have stepped up and are working together to pay for the necessary training and have opened the training up to drug courts and substance abuse treatment providers throughout the area. These two organizations, who have partnered with Lawrence and Crawford drug court for years, have now expanded their influence outside of Crawford and Lawrence counties."

Treatment courts are the most successful intervention in our nation's history for leading people living with substance use and mental health disorders out of the justice system and into lives of recovery and stability, according to National Association of Drug Court Professionals.

The training is designed to help educate the entire Drug Court team including the judge, prosecutor, public defender, probation officer, coordinator, and treatment professional.

Topics included in the training will be the neurobiology of chemical dependence, medication-assisted treatment, fidelity to the drug court model and best practice standards, drug court team roles and responsibilities, mental illness signs and symptoms, sanctions, incentives and therapeutic responses, and how being trauma-informed improves criminal justice responses.

The mission of the drug courts in the Second Judicial Circuit is to enhance public safety and reduce crime by holding offenders accountable for their behavior while promoting recovery of alcohol and other drug dependent offenders, through a multi-disciplinary, judicially supervised response.

URCHOICE is a non-profit organization formed to promote and support the Lawrence County Drug Court. RE-NEW is a non-rpofit organization formed to promote and support the Crawford County Drug Court.

Since its opening in 2012, the Center of Excellence has worked throughout Illinois to reduce the overrepresentation of persons with behavioral health disorders in the criminal justice system.

The expertise of the Center of Excellence staff in the law and behavioral health fields has allowed it to deliver invaluable training and technical assistance to diverse stakeholders, including but not limited to problem-solving courts, law enforcement personnel, and treatment providers in all 102 counties.

The Center of Excellence has also developed important working relationships both in Illinois and nationally that facilitate its ability to fulfill its mission to equip communities to appropriately respond to the needs of persons with behavioral health disorders who are involved with the criminal justice system.

For more information about RE-NEW, please visit their website at or go to their Facebook page. For more information about URCHOICE, please visit their website at or go to their Facebook page.

For more information about the Illinois Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health and Justice or about problem-solving courts, please visit or call 815-395-2140.

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