Winnebago County and Boone County Court Reorganization Targets Mental Health and Drug Abuse Issues

By: Meghan Dwyer
By: Meghan Dwyer

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- After the first of the year, Winnebago County and Boone County courts will be getting a bit of a makeover.

Current Chief Judge Janet Holmgren tells 23 News her successor Judge Joseph McGraw is making some "courageous" decisions.

Judge Holmgren will step down as chief judge but that doesn't mean she won't be busy. Starting in January she will oversee the drug court and mental health court, which for the first time will be under the umbrella of a single judge. This will mean better, quicker treatment for those suffering from mental health issues and drug abuse and for the first time ever Winnebago County will have a youth recovery and delinquency court that will affect 38 kids and their families.

Chief Judge Janet Holmgren said, "By default the courts have become the place where effective interventions can be put in place. The jails have become the largest providers of inpatient mental health treatment and substance abuse treatment by default because we don't have effective strategies in our community."

Judge Homlgren estimates that thirty to forty percent of all juvenile delinquents in Winnebago County have a mental health issue. The 250 thousand dollar youth delinquency grant will provide services to those youths for the next two years. It will start in April 2012.

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  • by Mary Location: Rkfd on Dec 16, 2011 at 03:24 PM
    What!!! This is something that been needed for years. We have plenty of young people from ages 25 and down that are put in D.C. just because doen't/hasn't figured out that these people desperately need help. Not thrown in jail, That's not improving anything just making it worse for the defendants and families involved.
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