John Jorgensen
Winnebago County Judge, Circuit Court Branch V

as told to Neal Hogden

“Drug court, really, is one of the best parts of my week. Going into the program, I wasn’t fully convinced that I would enjoy the program the connection, the clapping, all that. But it’s been an incredible program to see. It’s amazing to see the struggles and the challenges that the drug court participants go through. You really begin to recognize how difficult it is. Drug court participants always credit drug court and the team for saving their lives. In my mind, I’m thinking, ‘Come on, we did about 5 percent of the work. They did 95 percent of the work.’ It’s their dedication, their commitment, their work in the program. We see them once a week for a couple minutes for each participant. It’s much more intense for the drug court coordinator and the drug court case manager and the other people that work with them. But the participants are the ones who are on a minute-by-minute, day-by-day basis, that are struggling with this addiction and are using some of the tools that we can give them. It’s all on them. They’re the ones that do this, so I always find it humbling when they try to point to us; but it’s not us, it’s them and what they have done to achieve their sobriety and their recovery.”

John Jorgensen has been a Winnebago County Circuit Court judge since 2009 and also presides over the Winnebago County Safe Streets Drug Court Program.