Drug courts are designed to help nonviolent substance abuse offenders reform their ways and become productive, law-abiding members of society again, all the while saving taxpayers' money through less incarceration costs and reducing crime to boot.
Whiteside County officials are about to embark on this restorative justice program in September.
We wish them, and prospective drug court participants, good luck.
Lee and Ogle counties have offered drug courts since 2005 and 2009, respectively.
Of 82 participants, Lee County has had 32 successful graduates, with only three graduates rearrested.
Of Ogle County's 30 participants, 15 graduated successfully, and four graduates were rearrested.
Interviewed for a Sauk Valley Media story, Whiteside County State's Attorney Trish Joyce and Judge John L. Hauptman said they looked forward to the new program, which Hauptman described as "a win-win situation."
A main objective of drug court is to deal with addiction among the participants, but other aspects of individual lives are addressed.
It's not easy, based on the numbers of Lee and Ogle participants who washed out.
However, it is a golden opportunity for offenders to rectify bad decisions and turn their lives around.
People seldom get second chances in life. Whiteside County's drug court will be a second chance that qualifying participants should seize.