Illinois State Police District 19 Releases Results from
Occupant Restraint Enforcement Patrol
Carmi, IL - Illinois State Police (ISP) District 19 has released
enforcement figures from the Occupant Restraint Enforcement Patrol
(O.R.E.P.) conducted in Gallatin County on Friday, 10/17/14.
Safety Belt Citations
Child Restraint Citations
Most motorists have learned that safety belts save lives, but some
ignore their safety and that of their families by neglecting to use safety
belts and child restraint devices. These patrols reinforce the occupant
protection message by targeting those who choose to ignore the law. Lives
can be saved if people simply buckle up! This project was funded through
the Illinois Department of Transportation, Division of Transportation
Starting today, October 23, 2014 the intersections in Ridgway are changing. You will notice that the corner at the Gallatin County Tin & Hardware is now a 4 Way Stop Intersection. The intersection at the Bank and Legion is now a 2 Way Stop intersection going East and West. According the Village workers they are changing some other intersections also and will announce later all the changes. Some Yield signs are being replaced with new ones also.
In the Picture is Village employees, Bob Roberts and George Risley installing the Stop Sign by the Post office. Drive safe and be sure to look for all the new signs.
33-year-old Ryan Earl Bess of Ridgway has entered a guilty plea to federal charges he was growing a large amount of marijuana. Bess was caught growing more than 100 marijuana plants at a location in rural Gallatin County.
Officials say the offenses occurred in Gallatin County between April and August of 2012. Bess fled Illinois following his indictment and was arrested in Colorado earlier this year.
Sentencing has been set for Feb. 11, 2015 in Benton.
Bess faces between five and 40 years in prison and up to $5 million in fines if convicted.
There seems to be a lot of activity in Ridgway with building construction. What a wonderful site it is especially in the small towns of the Midwest. You will see below pictures of the new First Baptist Church Family Center being built next to the Ridgway First Baptist Church. It seems to be coming up really fast. Next you will see the cleanup in progress at Tri County Chemical, where a recent fire destroyed some of the buildings. After the cleanup, new buildings will be erected. And finally you will see the Steel going up at St. Kateri Catholic Church. The picture shows the East end of the building where the Altar will be. We will report as these projects continue. Wishing all 3 continued success.
Ridgway First Baptist
Tri County Chemicals
St. Kateri Church.
DRUG COURT – REDUCING CRIME, RESTORING LIVES
IN COMMUNITIES OF THE 2nd JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
Now in its 22nd month of operation, Drug Court is active in 10 of the 12
counties of the 2nd Judicial Circuit; and the number of addicted adult
offenders in our communities who are taking this opportunity to beat their
addictions and become productive citizens is already at 50 and growing.
What is Drug Court?
It’s a division of the Circuit Court of each county in which non-violent,
drug-dependent offenders who are willing to work hard to change their lives
are sentenced to tough, treatment-and accountability-based Drug Court
Probation under close monitoring by a Drug Court Judge and Drug Court
Is this just another program?
No. Drug Court is smart law enforcement. While only 1/3 of non-
violent addicted offenders sentenced to prison or traditional probation
avoid criminal activity after completion of sentence, 75% of all graduates of
the nation’s 2900 Drug Courts remain arrest free at the 2-year mark after
The numbers from several Illinois Drug Courts are even better. As of
March 14, 2014, 75% of all Champaign County Drug Court graduates had
remained arrest-free for at least 4 years; 80% of Dekalb County graduates
since 2008 had remained completely arrest-free; 92% of the 300+ graduates
since 1998 had remained free of drug-related arrests; and in McLean
County, 95% of the 61 graduates since 2008 had remained completely
Consider the numbers of drug offenses, thefts, burglaries and
forgeries and other offenses which aren’t being committed in those counties
because of Drug Court—then consider the impact on crime and the
improvement in public safety which the justice officials of our counties can
bring about through their involvement with Drug Court.
In recognition of the fact that well-operated Drug Courts bring about
higher rates of addiction recovery and greater reductions in crime by
addicted offenders than either traditional probation or prison, the Illinois
Drug Court Treatment Act requires every Illinois county to develop and
operate a Drug Court with a format approved by the Chief Judge of the
Does it cost more than, say, prison?
No. It costs much less. In the 2nd Circuit, savings are difficult to gauge
because the program is “young” and still developing. However, in
Champaign County, in which the Drug Court there has operated since 1999,
the services and resources provided for each Drug Court participant cost
$20,000 less per year than housing that person in prison.
How does it work?
In the 2nd Circuit, which includes Crawford, Edwards, Franklin, Gallatin,
Hamilton, Hardin, Jefferson, Lawrence, Richland, Wabash, Wayne, and
White Counties, every Drug Court in the 2nd Circuit operates under a
common set of standards and procedures approved by the Chief Judge.
Each Drug Court is operated by a Drug Court Team, led by a judge of the
Circuit as the Drug Court Judge. Other members of the team are the
county's State's Attorney, the Public Defender, a peace officer of the county,
the Drug Court’s drug counselor serving as Substance Abuse Officer, and a
Probation Officer serving as Drug Court Officer with responsibility for Drug
Court duties which include direct supervision of participants.
In order for an offender to be accepted into Drug Court, a referral must be
made to the Drug Court Officer. To qualify for consideration, a candidate
must be a drug-dependent criminal defendant charged with either a criminal
offense related to his or her addiction or violation of a traditional probation
which was based upon such an offense.
How does an offender get into Drug Court?
If the Drug Court Officer finds that a candidate wants to participate and
doesn’t have any disqualifying offenses, and a substance abuse screening
professional finds that the defendant, in fact, has a dependency on
drugs (including alcohol) which is related to the charged offense, the matter
goes to the Drug Court Team for full discussion on the referral.
Subject to the rights of the Drug Court Judge and State’s Attorney to veto
participation by any candidate, the Drug Court Team makes the decision to
admit or deny admission of the candidate to Drug Court.
If admitted, the defendant appears in Court, pleads guilty, is placed on
Drug Court Probation for 30 months, and also receives a 6-month stayed
jail sentence which can be activated as necessary to prompt full compliance
during the probation.
Upon successful completion of Drug Court, participants will graduate and
be successfully discharged from Drug Court Probation but will usually
remain convicted of the offenses – typically, felonies-- to which they have
So what is in it for them?
For Drug Court Probationers, the benefits of graduation and successful
- (1)that they will not go to prison,
- (2)that their thinking will have normalized, and
- (3)that they will have made life changes and developed skills which
enable them to stay away from drugs, obey the law, feel their self-
worth, and be responsible, productive members of their
Drug Court Probationers who fail Drug Court and are found in violation of
their probation will be re-sentenced on their charges without any trial being
necessary—and that will quite likely mean prison.
Why not just regular probation?
Traditional probation, which works rather well for non-addicted
offenders, has evolved over the years to include more post-sentencing
involvement by the court system than before.
Essentially, however, it still represents a sentence by which the
probationer is ordered to remain offense-free and meet a set of further
requirements; the Probation Officer meets with the Probationer regularly to
monitor compliance; the Court receives feedback during periodic reviews or
if a probationer has failed or is failing, but usually not before;
and new or modified probation requirements are usually imposed in
response to probation violations rather than to help prevent violations.
Why don’t addicted offenders perform well on regular probation?
It’s because their ability to stop committing offenses depends upon their
ability to achieve stable recovery from addiction—and in order to do so, they
must have a lot of help-- through the development of individualized
treatment plans and tasks; through frequent contact and encouragement and
immediate accountability to the Drug Court Judge and Drug Court Team;
and through a brand of probation in which, for addicted defendants, being
pro-active in support of their successes is recognized as being more effective
in reducing crime and enhancing community well-being than reacting to
Drug Court provides that help.
What happens during Drug Court Probation?
Immediately after a person enters Drug Court, several things happen. He or
she either enters an inpatient rehabilitation program or begins treatment
with the Substance Abuse Officer for at least 9 hours per week. Random
drug tests begin. Subject to inpatient treatment, rehabilitation, the
Probationer starts appearing before the Drug Court every week,
immediately after the Drug Court Team has discussed the Probationer’s
compliance and progress and the need for sanctions or rewards based upon
any infractions or successes since the last discussion. The participant’s
whereabouts and associations are now subject to restriction by the Drug
Court, and G.P.S. ankle monitoring can be utilized. Home visits and
searches by the Drug Court Officer or law enforcement officer can take
place at any time. Because of the danger of substituting one drug for
another, the participant is prohibited from drinking alcohol, and may not
take even prescribed medication without the consent of the Drug Court.
During the next thirty months, the participant will progress
through Drug Court phases in which the frequency of court appearances and
random testing is gradually stepped down while the Probationer’s
responsibility for honing his or her drug avoidance skills, having a living-
wage job, having his or her own place to live, and meeting all financial and
other obligations is stepped up. It’s a tough process – so tough, in fact, that
many decide they would rather go to prison. However, the results for those
who graduate from Drug Court – maintained sobriety, pride in themselves,
and law-abiding and productive lives—are worth the effort.
Who is most likely to succeed in Drug Court?
- 1.Offenders who are addicted (not just experimenting with or using
drugs) and who are highly likely to commit further crimes without
Drug Court’s components are the best candidates for Drug Court.
- 2.Addicted adults over 25 years of age, with past felony convictions
and even prison sentences, now perhaps on traditional probation, and
probably headed toward prison, are substantially more likely to
succeed and graduate from Drug Court. They are more likely tired of
the way they are living, have a better idea of how dismal prison life is,
and are more likely willing to meet the stringent requirements of Drug
- 3.Offenders who are participating in a Drug Court which adheres to the
principles proven essential to Drug Court effectiveness nationwide are
much more likely to succeed in Drug Court. This means:
- (a)Drug Court Team conferences and Drug Court session are held
regularly, and all Drug Court team members attend and actively
- (b)While the Drug Court Judge is the ultimate arbiter, the Drug
Court Team works together to supervise participants and assist
them in the difficult process of maintaining and becoming
responsible and productive.
- (c)Drug Court Probationers are provided with intensive substance
abuse treatment, random drug testing, and are treated firmly but
- (d)Drug Court Probationers are held strictly accountable through
- (e)Drug Court Teams partner with community leaders and groups for support and to obtain scarce resources essential to recovery—in
our Circuit, jobs and sober housing.
So how is Drug Court working out in the 2nd Circuit?
It is working well!
As of July 2014, 54 persons had been admitted to Drug Court since the
initial startup in January 2013. Of those 54 participants, 83% remained
arrest-free while participating, and 82% were still active Drug Court
Probationers. New Drug Court Probationers are being admitted regularly,
and our Drug Court Teams are working collaboratively and consistently in
order to assure that our program in the 2nd Circuit works as well as so
many other excellent Drug Courts throughout the country.
In the 2nd Circuit, Drug Court is beginning to fulfill its promise of enabling
addicted defendants to become and remain drug free and lead productive,
law-abiding lives. With the continuing efforts of the 2nd Circuit Drug
Court teams and the support of the people in our communities, this very
important division of our court system will help restore many lives and make
the 2nd Circuit an even safer and better place in which to live.
Judge Stephen G. “Steve” Sawyer (Retired)
Director of Specialty Courts of the Illinois 2nd Judicial Circuit