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A hostage goes to jail

Wednesday, Mar 9, 2016

* Colleen Boraca, the director of the Northern Illinois University College of Law Health Advocacy Clinic in Aurora, writing in the Sun-Times

Seven months ago, I wrote an op-ed about Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposed budget cuts, highlighting their impact on “Frank.” Frank — homeless and suffering from mental illness — was working hard to put his life back together.

Frank had multiple agencies supporting him. He was living in Aurora at Hesed House, the state’s second largest homeless shelter. His substance abuse counselor was helping him maintain sobriety. He was attending sessions with a mental health counselor. He was receiving regular medical treatment at Aunt Martha’s Health and Outreach Center. He was also working with law students from the Northern Illinois University College of Law Health Advocacy Clinic, which helps clients access public benefits.

Frank had a history of mental health hospitalizations but was receiving regular care and medication. He was optimistic about moving out of Hesed House.

Now, Frank has a new home: jail. […]

Zero state funding has been catastrophic for social service agencies and the people they serve. The hours of Frank’s mental health and substance abuse counselors were cut back at Hesed House, making it harder for him to access treatment. When Frank does not receive needed treatment, his mental illness and addiction issues impair his judgment, and he ends up in jail. The cost is not just Frank’s. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, every dollar spent on addiction treatment programs yields an average $4 to $7 benefit in reduced incarceration and costs of crime. […]

Frank and other Illinois residents rely heavily on Lutheran Social Services of Illinois, the state’s largest provider of social services. LSSI had to lay off 43 percent of its work force in January, resulting in the cutting of 30 programs — including Frank’s rehabilitation program — that serve 4,700 individuals. LSSI had little choice due to the $6 million unpaid by the state. The programs cut include those helping seniors, veterans, the homeless, individuals suffering from mental illness and those seeking drug/alcohol treatment.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Mar 9, 16 @ 12:16 pm:

    RonSandack: I’m frustrated 2, but taking steps towards reforming IL more important than short term budget stalemate. - Ron Sandack, 9/28/15

    There you go OW!

  2. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Mar 9, 16 @ 12:18 pm:

    Gee, didn’t see that coming.

    More to come. Much more.

    Despite the scatter-brained thinking of Gov. Rauner and the Frat Boys, the state can never be “out” of the social services business.

    Jail is just the most expensive and least productive option.

    And the ultimate failure of governance.

    Generations of Illinoisans before this crew knew that.

  3. - Abe the Babe - Wednesday, Mar 9, 16 @ 12:18 pm:

    I need to re-read Rich’s How do they sleep at night post.

    This is disgusting. Waiting for Sandack to swoop in and tell frank to hang in there. It will all be worth it in the end.

  4. - Say It Aint So!!! - Wednesday, Mar 9, 16 @ 12:18 pm:

    How many hostages have died?

  5. - My New Handle - Wednesday, Mar 9, 16 @ 12:20 pm:

    The governor’s indifference to suffering his intrangience is causing borders on depraved, or complete self-absorption. And really nothing can move him away from that.

  6. - Jack Stephens - Wednesday, Mar 9, 16 @ 12:20 pm:

    Cheaper to treat ‘em in prisons.

    $18,000.00 per person, per year.

    All Illinois CEO Bruce cares about is the bottom line.

  7. - Because I said so... - Wednesday, Mar 9, 16 @ 12:21 pm:

    Rauner. Doesn’t. Care.

  8. - cdog - Wednesday, Mar 9, 16 @ 12:25 pm:

    Jails are not the correct answer to mental illness problems in this century. We should be acting smarter than this.

    So sad.

    Vote accordingly.

  9. - illinoised - Wednesday, Mar 9, 16 @ 12:28 pm:

    That is not a problem in a venture capitalist’s world.

  10. - @MisterJayEm - Wednesday, Mar 9, 16 @ 12:29 pm:

    Bruce Rauner likes to tout his prison reforms, but the ill people needlessly jailed instead of treated will be his true criminal justice legacy.

    – MrJM

  11. - Tinsel Town - Wednesday, Mar 9, 16 @ 12:32 pm:

    Frank & stories like Frank are just the tip of the cost of Rauner’s means of doing business. Maybe Bruce will privatize jail’s in the coming months to bust another union.

  12. - humm - Wednesday, Mar 9, 16 @ 12:33 pm:

    Anyone who pays attention to this chaos can’t help but realize people’s lives are being destroyed by the destruction of the social service network. I personally think tax dollars should go to these services, and view it as an investment in people and our community. But there is a large contingent of people who don’t view it the way I do. The strongly believe we shouldn’t be providing social services, such as drug treatment and mental health services. I’ve heard them say it’s their fault, they should get a job, etc. What this group of people fails to see is when society starts to crumble, we all lose. I decided to try something new. Lately when I hear “it’s their own fault” or “we should invest in students, not drug addicts,” I politely explain the homeless drug addict who can’t go to a shelter or get drug treatment is going to camp out in your alley and punch out your car windows to get cash for drugs. You see, places like Hessed House and Lutheran Social Services take care of those in need so you don’t have to, and so you don’t have to deal with dozens of homeless people when you get your latte at Starbucks. For some reason, that seems to get a different reaction. All of a sudden, drug treatment programs and homeless shelters make sense.

    Most people don’t care until it actually impacts them. That, my friends, is why guys like Rauner and Trump get elected.

  13. - How Ironic - Wednesday, Mar 9, 16 @ 12:37 pm:

    Morning Rich,

    When reached for comment today Donna Arduin commented “Frank should have gotten a job”.


  14. - Henry Francis - Wednesday, Mar 9, 16 @ 12:37 pm:

    Rauner and his ilk don’t care about “takers” such as Frank.

    What they do care about is value to taxpayers.

    If the goal here is to convince Rauner and his ilk, then the focus needs to be on the savings to taxpayers that result from funding these social services. That should be the lede. Keep hammering that ROI. Make clear that cutting $x today will cost taxpayers $4x over the next 5 years.

    Human cost just doesn’t seem to have much value with them. They view this as a business, not government.

  15. - anon - Wednesday, Mar 9, 16 @ 12:38 pm:

    How long will it work to express concern and cast blame on Madigan?

  16. - Anon221 - Wednesday, Mar 9, 16 @ 12:39 pm:

    Now, will these grants be held up and picked over to see if the funds have any political worth to Rauner and the SuperStars, or will they be awarded to the organizations, agencies, and PEOPLE that the monies are for???

    And, I know there are other state agencies that may get some of this funding as the fiscal agent, but I’m too tired and disgusted with Rauner and Co. today to do the searching. So, I guess today, he wins.

  17. - Anon221 - Wednesday, Mar 9, 16 @ 12:44 pm:

    Previous post didn’t go through (?)-

    Wonder how this will be distributed… and when in the budget according to Rauner.

  18. - Anon221 - Wednesday, Mar 9, 16 @ 12:46 pm:

    More on the grants-

  19. - the Patriot - Wednesday, Mar 9, 16 @ 12:52 pm:

    So what is her proposal. We all agree we want to help Frank, so who do you take the money from?

    10 years of deficit spending made this unavoidable. Rauner is compounding by handling this about as bad as he can. But very simply, take out the budget, decide who you want to cut to pay for your program, convince 1/2 the legislature and the governor you are right.

    It is not as simple as just saying cuts are bad.

  20. - Sparky791 - Wednesday, Mar 9, 16 @ 12:57 pm:

    Rauner personally gives millions to charity. That is his justification for sleeping at night. He has learned and done exactly one thing as governor. Blame Madigan, thats it.

  21. - humm - Wednesday, Mar 9, 16 @ 1:02 pm:

    It would be interesting to know who Rauner has contributed more to during his tenure, charities or political committees.

  22. - Anon221 - Wednesday, Mar 9, 16 @ 1:05 pm:

    hum- Will he tax returns be made public this year? That would be one way to see who he donated to.

  23. - future former Republican - Wednesday, Mar 9, 16 @ 1:12 pm:

    Get Frank off of General Revenue supported programs and into a county jail that is not supported by any General Revenue funds. Support criminal justice reform that then keeps Frank out of General Revenue supported DOC and keeps him in county jails. Win-win for the General Revenue fund. BTW, DOC is over $30,000 per inmate per year, not $18,000.

  24. - Saluki - Wednesday, Mar 9, 16 @ 1:13 pm:

    It’s a feature not a bug.

  25. - Anon221 - Wednesday, Mar 9, 16 @ 1:18 pm:

    future former Republican- if your post was snarky, ignore mine. If not, please read-

  26. - future former Republican - Wednesday, Mar 9, 16 @ 1:21 pm:

    Pure snark. Sorry, I forget that there are people out there who might interpret that comment as support for cutting social services.

  27. - future former Republican - Wednesday, Mar 9, 16 @ 1:25 pm:

    Thanks for the link. Currently, the three largest mental health institutions in the United States are Rikers Island, Cook County Jail and the Los Angeles County Jail.

  28. - Dale Cooper - Wednesday, Mar 9, 16 @ 1:33 pm:

    Rauner is treating the state like his drug addicted criminal son.

  29. - Norseman - Wednesday, Mar 9, 16 @ 1:51 pm:

    He doesn’t care!

  30. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Mar 9, 16 @ 1:57 pm:

    This may sound strange but I feel better about him being safe in jail. I know jail is a horrible place to be and yet he’ll be safe there. It’s better than being dead out on the street. An awful option for sure but it’s all we’ve got at this point. A shout out to my DOC sisters and brothers to take good care of him.

  31. - burbanite - Wednesday, Mar 9, 16 @ 2:02 pm:

    Privatize the prisons and social services, for profits can provide services at a much lower cost. /s

  32. - Marcus Agrippa - Wednesday, Mar 9, 16 @ 2:15 pm:

    My son deals with similar clientele for a Chicago agency. Says they are getting overloaded and at the same time running low on money. He expects an uptick in violence and crime this summer because these dual diagnosis folks won’t be getting care.

  33. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Mar 9, 16 @ 2:18 pm:

    –It is not as simple as just saying cuts are bad.–

    What cuts? They have state contracts that are not being honored.

    You understand the concept of “contract,” correct?

  34. - crazybleedingheart - Wednesday, Mar 9, 16 @ 2:20 pm:

    Dale Cooper +100

  35. - Jocko - Wednesday, Mar 9, 16 @ 3:01 pm:

    humm @ 12:33 pm

    Those same Rauner supporters who demean the cost of social services are often first in line for Medicare-provided hospital treatment following a lifetime of unhealthy habits.

  36. - future former Republican - Wednesday, Mar 9, 16 @ 3:10 pm:

    Let’s see. We privatized a large percentage of social services in order to save money for the State. Most of the savings come from no pensions, reduced health insurance benefits and lower salaries for workers. The services we authorize by contract are not sufficient to reach a significant percentage of those who need the services. (Current waitlist for CILA services is about 25,000 developmentally disabled adults) We fund the social service agencies at about 90% of their actual cost and expect them to make up the difference through private fundraising. We force the social service agencies to go to court and obtain court orders to require the payment of their inadequate reimbursement rates. And now we are surprised that these folks are victims of the current crisis?

  37. - crazybleedingheart - Wednesday, Mar 9, 16 @ 3:15 pm:

    “Goldberg says when there is a will to, we can get things done. Touts bipartisan criminal justice reforms introduced last week as an example.”

    I’m sure Goldberg’s “reform” assurances will make Frank feel allllll better.

    But not as good as Frank would feel if he had just had the foresight to be born with the last name Rauner.

  38. - crazybleedingheart - Wednesday, Mar 9, 16 @ 3:16 pm:

  39. - NSideLady - Wednesday, Mar 9, 16 @ 3:22 pm:

    It would be great if some reporter could really cost out how much it would take to house Frank in jail versus the supportive services he was receiving through various agencies to achieve self-sufficiency. My understanding is that in 2009, it cost almost $25,000 to incarcerate an inmate. It seems like social service agencies really save the state money that would otherwise be spent on imprisonment.

  40. - Mama - Wednesday, Mar 9, 16 @ 4:45 pm:

    If I’m reading this right, Rauner plans to pass out grant money based on which organization does what for him and his cause.

  41. - Langhorne - Wednesday, Mar 9, 16 @ 5:07 pm:

    Starve the beast

    Some shakeout is needed

    I give money to charity


  42. - Bill - Thursday, Mar 10, 16 @ 5:20 pm:

    It’s really funny. A social program gets cut, it is the heartless people’s fault. Don’t mind their million dollar pensions that cause the problem. The money has to come from somewhere. Let’s go easy on the straw man. He has had enough.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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