Pike County’s drug court in Pittsfield, Il., has become, for all intents and purposes, a meth court, devoted to alternative responses to methamphetamine crimes, the Chicago Tribune reports. For non-violent offenders, the court offers a chance to avoid prison time and provides a safety net, directing addicts to drug counseling, mental health treatment, even parenting classes. Pike County, about 270 miles southwest of Chicago, provides longer periods of supervision and exceptional levels of intervention compared with other drug courts.
While Pike County requires 18 sober months to graduate, in a Chicago drug court, where 150 people fight mostly cocaine and heroin additions, a participant can graduate after six clean months, says Cook County Drug Court Coordinator Susan Stanger. “We have such an urban setting, to hold people that long when we have a high caseload is not practical,” she said. For all its special treatment, some offenders in rural Pike County say their drug court can be harder than prison.