Judge Charles Burns Highlights the Rehabilitative Alternative Probation Program of Cook County

Judge Charles Burns Highlights the Rehabilitative Alternative Probation Program of Cook County

Judge Charles Burns is a judge in the Cook County Judicial Circuit Court’s 15th Sub-circuit in Illinois. Judge Charles Burns ends his term on December 4, 2028. On November 8, 2022, Burns won the retention election to continue serving as the 15th Sub-circuit judge of the Cook County Judicial Circuit Court in Illinois. The state of Illinois is home to over a hundred Problem-Solving Courts (PSC). These courts are further divided into Vet Courts, Mental Health, and Drug/DUI courts. Drug courts are crucial in decreasing recidivism rates, decreasing participant odds of substance use, and raising participant chances of rehabilitation. Drug courts are viewed as “criminal justice reform at its finest” by Burns.

Judge Charles Burns Speaks on Cook Countryโ€™s Rehabilitative Alternative Probation programs

The Rehabilitative Alternative Probation, or (W) RAP, program is particularly well-known for having been overseen by Cook County Judicial Circuit Court Judge Charles Burns. This alternative sentencing strategy is intended for those who have engaged in drug-related non-violent offenses. (W) RAP is effectively a two-year drug treatment program for felonies. Its main goal is to give people access to treatment as an alternative to receiving a prison sentence. The Rehabilitative Alternative Probation program’s objective is to assist individuals on their journey away from drug and/or alcohol addiction. The program helps clients reintegrate into the community as a changed, sober person by offering accountability, services, and support.

There are 513 judges on the Illinois Circuit Court, and they are all chosen for six-year terms in partisan elections. Judges who wish to remain in office when their terms are over must run in uncontested, nonpartisan retention elections. Every circuit court’s chief judge is chosen by their peers, and they hold that position for life. 391 associate judges, who are essentially restricted in that they cannot oversee cases in which the defendant is accused of a felony, also provide services to the circuit courts. Circuit judges designate associate judges to four-year terms.

Cook County offers two distinct Rehabilitative Alternative Probation programs: one for women and one for males. Although the structure of these programs is the same, they offer distinct services tailored to the demands of each gender to better fulfill the needs of the participants. Rather than receiving a criminal punishment, they are placed in a residential treatment facility and placed on probation. Each member of the Rehabilitative Alternative Probation program is required to finish a comprehensive drug addiction treatment program. Frequent drug and alcohol tests, court appearances, consistent participation in self-help support groups, and any further therapy or counseling that the (W) RAP team recommends are all part of this treatment plan. The program has created a variety of community collaborations to assist the participants in all facets of life.

Some of the partnerships involved in the program offer career opportunities financial credit services, while others assist them in finding and obtaining long-term and temporary housing as well as furnishing recently acquired housing. A few of them provide trauma-informed care and mental health counseling. Following program graduation, the participant’s probation is satisfactorily ended, their cases are dropped, and their convictions are erased.

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