Operational with teams of specifically trained judges, veteran attorneys, coordinators, probation officers, and specialist clinicians, Problem-solving courts (PSCs) are intended to provide comprehensive services and consistent observing of defendants who are under the criminal justice system due to substance abuse, co-occurring disorders such as anxiety and depression disorder, conduct disorders, bipolar etc. According to Judge Charles Burns, the 15th Sub-circuit of the Cook County Judicial Circuit Court in Illinois by providing access to necessary rehabilitation By combining access to treatment with judicial insight with accountability, PSCs provide the opportunity to its participants to come out of their drug addiction, maintain recovery and lead a quality life and also take part as a contributor to the community people while reducing the rate of recidivism.  

Judge Charles Burns Speaks on Cook County’s Rehabilitative Alternative Probation program

Problem-solving courts are further grouped under Mental Health, Drug/DUI, and Vet Courts. While referring to the dedicated endeavor of PSCs to lessen the consequences of substance use and their successful role in trimming down the recidivism rates, according to Judge Charles Burns, criminal justice reform at its finest. His current term in the position of Judge will come to an end on December 4th, 2028. In fact, the distinguished personality has been re-elected in the election for the rank of 15th Sub-circuit judge of Cook County’s Judicial Circuit Court, retained earlier his position on November 8, 2022. 

As of now, the Circuit Court of Illinois has 513 judges and every judge is elected for a 6-year term. Judges who further want to carry on serving for the next time are allowed to compete in open and impartial elections to retain their position. Every circuit court has a chief judge who is selected by peer vote and the chief judges can serve in their position indefinitely. In addition, there are 391 associate judges to render their services in circuit courts, however, however, their capacity is restricted as they are not allowed to preside over any case where the defendant is charged with a crime. It is the circuit judge who is responsible for appointing the associate judges for a term of 4 years. 

The Rehabilitative Alternative Probation (RAP) program of Cook Country is separated into two sections one of which is only for men while the other is intended for women. The programs are formulated identically, although certain gender-centric services are provided with the viewpoint to fulfill the differentiating necessities of men and women participants. According to Burns, in the continuation of the Rehabilitative Alternative Probation course, every participant is required to go through a robust and objective treatment on individual issues caused by substance abuse. The program is thoughtfully designed to treat issues including frequent drug and alcohol screenings, appearances in court, and daily attendance in self-help support programs apart from participating in any other rehab procedure or counseling as and when suggested by the (W) RAP team. 

Under this large-scale program, several community partners are working together to support the participants in various aspects of life. While many of the associates help them in locating and getting short or long-term housing, others provide assistance towards career development, employment and financial credit services. There are many who offer counselling to promote mental health and objective treatment for trauma. After becoming graduates of the program, the probation period of the participants comes to an end. With this, they are given release from the cases as well as convictions.