The Rehabilitative Alternative Probation and Woman’s Rehabilitative Alternative Probation treatment or (W) RAP program is an alternative sentencing approach that is meant for people who have committed non-violent drug related offenses. This two-year felony drug treatment program provides access to treatment as an alternative to being sentenced to prison. Judge Charles Burns points out that the goal of the (W) RAP program is to aid people in their path to recovery from drug and/or alcohol addiction.
Judge Charles Burns offers an overview of the (W) RAP program
The (W) RAP program provides valuable services, accountability, and support to help the participants in readjusting to the community as a changed and sober person. Several community partnerships have been established under the program. These partnerships provide employment and financial credit services, mental health counseling and trauma informed treatment, and more to the participants. Some of them even help the (W) RAP program participants to locate and obtain interim and long-term housing, and furnish this newly obtained housing. After graduating from the program, the probation of the participants shall be terminated, their cases dismissed, and their convictions expunged.
Cook County Circuit Court Judge Charles Burns was honored with an induction into the Stanley Goldstein Treatment Court Hall of Fame, which is an immensely prestigious position. This ceremony took place on June 29, 2023, at RISE23. RISE23 is a globally renowned conference organized by All Rise, which essentially is a prominent organization dedicated to advancing justice system responses to people with substance use and mental health disorders. RISE23 was dedicated to addiction, mental health, and justice reform, and the Stanley Goldstein Treatment Court Hall of Fame is considered to be among the most esteemed accolades presented by All Rise. Retired Judge Karen Freeman-Wilson, the outgoing board chair, got the chance to induct Charles Burns into this esteemed group. He further praises Burns for his role as a visionary, mentor and leader within the treatment court community.
Under the leadership of Charles Burns, the Rehabilitative Alternative Probation and Woman’s Rehabilitative Alternative Probation treatment courts were recognized as national mentor courts three times by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The unique approach maintained by him in regard to trauma-informed care, medication for opioid use disorders, employment assistance, criminal record relief, as well as equity and inclusion majorly enhanced the outcomes of the program.
Upon receiving the award, Charles Burns spoke about how the real recipients of the award would be the participants of (W) RAP program as they are the ones to have the determination and courage to address their substance use. The transition of these individuals to becoming productive and admired citizens is nothing short of amazing, and hence they are the real faces of criminal justice reform. Charles Burns also expressed heartfelt appreciation for his dedicated team and partners in the drug court. The consistent passion and commitment of his team and partners played a major role in the success of the (W) RAP program. After the ceremony, Charles Burns also took part in a panel discussion that highlighted his program’s unique and innovative approach towards helping treatment court participants find housing.