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Poll: Illinois crime victims want less prison spending, more education, rehab and mental health/drug treatment

Tuesday, Dec 6, 2016

* Press release

A new, first-of-its-kind statewide survey released by the Alliance for Safety and Justice (ASJ) bucks conventional wisdom regarding the views of crime victims on incarceration. Despite popular assumptions that victims support long sentences and prison expansion, the Survey of Illinois Victims’ Views finds that seven in 10 victims prefer a more balanced approach to public safety – shorter prison sentences and greater investments in prevention, rehabilitation and trauma recovery for victims to stop the cycle of crime.

By a margin of nearly 3 to 1, crime victims believe that time in prison makes people more likely to commit another crime rather than less likely. These views cut across demographic groups, with wide support across race, age, gender, and political party affiliation.

Nine in 10 crime victims prefer that Illinois invest more in schools and education rather than investing in more prisons and jails. The vast majority of victims also prefer investments in rehabilitation, mental health treatment, and drug treatment to more spending on prisons and jails. […]

The survey also finds that victims of crime experience significant challenges in recovery and healing—seven in 10 report experiencing at least one symptom of trauma. The survey found fewer than half of victims receive help from the police and only two in 10 receive help from the district attorney.

There’s lots to look at so click here.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - milkman - Tuesday, Dec 6, 16 @ 1:43 pm:

    Wonder why they didn’t think of this years ago? They did. Allot of criminals don’t want to be rehabilitated. Maybe Chicago can be a sanctuary city for criminals too

  2. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Dec 6, 16 @ 2:16 pm:

    Rich, how do your assess the poll methodology I enthr questions inherent bias. E g does the public know that the typical drug felon releases have 18 prior arrests and 6 prior convictions. If not than “more focus on drug treatment” sounds appealling until you know that the offender had been through drug treatment on several prior offenses.

  3. - train111 - Tuesday, Dec 6, 16 @ 2:33 pm:

    From hindsight being on the victim end of a violent crime:

    The perpetrator if found guilty - if the trial ever occurs (snark) getting convicted of first degree murder with 3 prior felony convictions for domestic violence will probably land life without parole. There is nothing that can ne done at this point. Could somethimg have been done in the past? Who knows. I wish something could have been done, but that’s neither here or now at this point.
    For the future however, I tend to side with the majority that more should be put into education and rehabilitation. I understand that there will always bw those who cant be rehabilitated or don’t want to be and we’ll have to deal with that.

  4. - Amalia - Tuesday, Dec 6, 16 @ 3:10 pm:

    anxious to know what the folks at Rape Victims Advocates and Marsy’s Law think of these findings.

    agree that question of typical drug felon background, for example, is something that must be included. arrest at hand is not the only issue. background matters.

  5. - Federalist - Tuesday, Dec 6, 16 @ 3:28 pm:

    This from their website:

    In partner states, ASJ will provide support and technical assistance to organizations advancing justice reform through alliance building, issue education, and policy advocacy. ASJ is committed to both reforming state justice systems and empowering the communities most harmed by concentrated crime and over-incarceration. ASJ is the sister organization of Californians for Safety and Justice, a project of the Tides Center ( and Vote Safe, a 501(c)4 project of The Advocacy Fund.

    It appears to be affiliated with something called the Tides Center. And proclaims:

    “Since 1976, Tides has worked with innovative partners to accelerate toward a world of shared prosperity and social justice.”

    Check it out for yourself and form your own opinion about this organization and their agenda.

  6. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Dec 6, 16 @ 3:31 pm:

    …does the public know that the typical drug felon releases have 18 prior arrests and 6 prior convictions. If not than “more focus on drug treatment” sounds appealling until you know that the offender had been through drug treatment on several prior offenses.—

    Begs the question.

    If the convictions are strictly drugs, what’s the better choice for society: sending the offenders to prison, again, or rehab, again.

    Prisons cost a lot more money, don’t they?

  7. - Federalist - Tuesday, Dec 6, 16 @ 3:37 pm:

    Depends upon the previous arrests and convictions.

    If it is merely for low levels of possession and personal use then the number of arrests is largely irrelevant.

    If the arrests involved drug dealing and more serious crimes it is indeed very relevant.

    And remember, many convictions are based upon plea bargaining that reduces the charges from the seriousness of what the crime may actually ahve been.

  8. - Illinoyed - Tuesday, Dec 6, 16 @ 3:42 pm:

    Are there going to be any “rehab” services left in this state? (Maybe The Ounce will be expanding services offered…)

  9. - Amalia - Tuesday, Dec 6, 16 @ 3:52 pm:

    policy makers must take great care that they do not value lowering costs over actual safety. Plus the most important use of funds in the justice system could well be at the early stages of life of a person. teaching consequences of actions to a person at a young age might move a life in the right direction.

  10. - Union Thug Gramma - Tuesday, Dec 6, 16 @ 4:43 pm:

    Anon: does the public know that the typical drug felon releases have 18 prior arrests and 6 prior convictions.
    I’d venture a guess that you don’t know about the new Jim Crow…or that even tho whites and blacks use drugs at about the same percentage, white kids are not accosted at the same rate as black kids, hence more arrests for black kids. White kids that ARE arrested (I remember Birkett’s son being arrested a decent amount of cannabis a few years ago) can afford a private attorney rather than a public defender…and charges slowly go away. Please, if you want to really be knowledgeable in this area, read The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander…you may understand more.

  11. - Amalia - Tuesday, Dec 6, 16 @ 5:10 pm:

    higher number of police patrolling certain neighborhoods because more serious crimes are happening there (sexual assault, shootings, murder) leads to arrests for all sorts of things, including drugs. unless, of course, you want to pull police from the neighborhoods where serious crime is happening and move them to whiter neighborhoods just to lessen the imbalance on drug crimes.

  12. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Dec 6, 16 @ 5:15 pm:

    “The truth of the matter is Chicago is not out of control. There’s certain parts of the city that we have to address the violence,” Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said Tuesday…”

    what Eddie said.

  13. - Property of IDOC - Tuesday, Dec 6, 16 @ 9:24 pm:

    And…how about spending/securing more viable educational opportunities for those who are already incarcerated. “Let ‘em leave better.” I’ve been w/ the department since 2001 and have seen more programming dropped than initiated. We had a “second chance ” Pell Grant opportunity introduced recently, but it looks like that may end with the Trumpinator. Roosevelt University’s 2016 start date is in limbo now too. They need programming that will truly build opportunity for positive choices once they parole, rehab sounds nice-but its now scarce, being prepared for a job may be more realistic. If the services are available while they’re here, most will take advantage of the opportunity.We could fill our college classes 3x if we could hire more teachers. Education truly is the answer.

  14. - LYO - Wednesday, Dec 7, 16 @ 2:33 pm:

    Some of the questions are worded poorly… Which do you prefer?

    “Prison sentences that keep people in prison for as long as possible, or
    Shorter prison sentences and spending more on prevention and rehabilitation programs.?”

    No State’s Attorney in Illinois has a policy of “keep ‘em as long as possible.”

    Nor is there a policy of “convictions no matter what.”

    The report goes on to note that it “oversampled” African-Americans and Latinos. Why? I admit, I don’t know if that’s legit or not.

    There is an SIU study from November of last year that says for example, 66.8% of people favor increasing mandatory minimums for felony convictions involving firearms with only 22.5% opposing.

    I’m skeptical is all.

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