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Skokie Courthouse is celebrating its first personal graduation from Veterans Court since the pandemic began this Friday

The Skokie Veterans Treatment Court, a problem-solving court in the Circuit Court of Cook County, will hold its first in-person graduation ceremony on Friday since the coronavirus pandemic began. The ceremony will take place on October 22nd at 2:15 pm in Room 201 of the Courthouse at 5600 Old Orchard Road. The media are invited to attend the ceremony, which takes place less than three weeks before Veterans Day.

Problem-solving courts, also known as specialty or therapy courts, seek to help lower-level defendants suffering from an underlying mental health, social, or substance abuse problem avoid recidivists. Problem-solving courts achieve this goal through treatment and intensive care. The Cook County Circuit Court has a nationwide network of problem solving courts that includes drug treatment courts, mental health courts and veterans treatment courts.

Cook County’s problem-solving courts are primarily designed to assist people who have committed nonviolent crimes.

Cook County’s first Veterans Treatment Court was established in the George N. Leighton Criminal Courthouse in 2009, and veterans courts have been established in every suburb of the District Court since then.

The Hon. Michael Hood, a veteran of the US Marine Corps, presides over the Skokie Veterans Treatment Court. He said four new graduates will attend the ceremony on Friday. Graduates who have previously attended ceremonies on Zoom are also invited.

Judge Hood noted that the Veterans Treatment Court accepts participants with both addiction and mental health problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder. The program lasts for two years and offers treatments that are primarily administered by the Veterans Administration. Participants who successfully complete the program will be dismissed and deleted.

“This is real rehabilitation,” said Judge Hood, who has headed the Skokie Veterans Treatment Court for seven years. “There is a problem, a mental health problem or an addiction that we are addressing so that we can take it out of the criminal justice cycle. The point is to take it back, to make it whole. “

Hand-made quilts from the Quilts of Valor Foundation will be presented to graduates of the ceremony.

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