“It’s amazing. It saved my life,” says Josh Beck, one of four graduates in the 38th class of the Winnebago County Adult Drug Court Program.
It’s an initiative to help those struggling with substance abuse.
In 2014, Beck was convicted of felony drug possession. That’s when the program reached out to him.
“I had serious issues with addiction,” said Beck. “And they came to me and asked if I’d be willing to help myself. And they would be willing to help me.”
“Drug court targets people with a felony conviction who have a diagnosed addiction,” said Presiding Judge Janet Holmgren. “And, who are willing to volunteer and go through what is a highly structured intensive program.”
The program takes an alternative route for its participants; instead of incarceration, it provides rehabilitation.
“So it gives them the opportunity to stay in the community to get the treatment that they need,” said Judge Holmgren. “And while they’re here, hopefully they’re able to continue or acquire the pro-social things that will make them successful in the community.”
Not only do advocates say the program helps save lives, it saves taxpayer dollars too.
“In the end, the more that we can divert people from state prison, the more it saves the state money and it’s always cheaper to give people the services and supervision they need in their communities,” said Lindsey LaPointe, the Program Manager for Adult Redeploy of Illinois.
And with his certificate in hand, Beck certainly can vouch for the program’s success.
“I was, you know, lost and hopeless,” said Beck. “And they gave me the opportunity to get a lot of things back in my life, and I still got a long way to go to get some other things back, but I’m happy again.”