In celebration of May being National Drug Court Month, Lee County Circuit Judge Jacquelyn D. Ackert was recently recognized for her longstanding contributions and dedication to the Lee County Drug Court. She was presented with the cloth of signatures from graduates from the Drug Court since its inception.
Judge Ackert has presided over the Drug Court since 2006 and has presided over every graduate to have completed the program. The drug court is a highly structured judicial intervention program that works collaboratively with the State's Attorney's Office, defense attorney, treatment, probation, and peer mentors which works to reduce drug use, drug addiction, and crimes which are drug-related.
"It's a win-win situation: a win for the individual suffering from addiction to stay out of the revolving door of the courthouse and a win for the taxpayers in reducing the costs of maintaining jails and prisons," said Ackert.
To date, over 150 people from Lee County have been accepted into the Lee County Drug Court.
"We are very proud to have Judge Ackert as the longest serving drug court judge in the State of Illinois. Judge Ackert and her Drug Court team have done a tremendous job," stated Chief Judge of the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit, Robert T. Hanson.
This May, drug courts throughout Illinois will join more than 4,000 such programs nationwide in celebrating National Drug Court Month. This year alone, more than 150,000 individuals nationwide who entered the justice system due to addiction will receive lifesaving treatment and the chance to repair their lives, reconnect with their families, and find long-term recovery. National Drug Court Month is a celebration of the lives restored by drug court, and it sends the powerful message that these programs must be expanded to reach more people in need. More than 30 years ago, the first drug court opened its doors with a simple premise: rather than continue to allow individuals with long histories of addiction and crime to cycle through the justice system at great expense to the public, use the leverage of the court to keep them engaged in treatment long enough to be successful. Today, drug courts and other treatment courts have proven that a combination of accountability and compassion saves lives while also saving valuable resources and reducing exorbitant criminal justice costs.
Numerous studies have found that treatment courts reduce crime and drug use and save money. Research shows treatment courts also improve education, employment, housing, financial stability, and family reunification, which reduces foster care placements. Treatment courts represent a compassionate approach to the ravages of addiction.