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Crime and punishment

Friday, Feb 25, 2011

* The overreaction by Gov. Pat Quinn to stories about how the Department of Corrections released violent prisoners against his direct orders has caused some serious problems

Without MGT, and Randle’s ramped-up version, tagged MGT-Push, the state effectively put a lid on its often overcrowded prisons. The result is the number of inmates in Illinois prisons has exploded to an all-time high of 48,760 as of Feb. 14.

“We shot ourselves in the foot by ending MGT,” DOC senior policy analyst Cory Foster told an audience at Northwestern School of Law in December.

During its brief, three-month tenure, MGT-Push allowed the early release of 1,754 inmates. Another 24,172 prisoners in 2009 were eligible for good-time credits under MGT. Keeping them behind bars (the numbers represent about half of the state’s total prison population) for lengthier stays increases the likelihood of violence against other inmates and for prison staff, said John Maki, executive director of The John Howard Association of Illinois, a nonprofit group that monitors Illinois prisons.

“Overcrowding undermines the cost effectiveness of our prison system and threatens the safety of correctional officers and inmates. It decreases the chances that inmates will have access to rehabilitative services, which increases the likelihood that they’ll re-offend once they are released,” said Maki.

MGT-Push was the problem. It was carried out against the governor’s direct orders. MGT has been around for years and was not necessarily the problem. But, as is typical when the media kicks up a ruckus, the administration overreacted and stopped everything. And now the prisons are filled to the rafters.

* The Belleville police have new operating rules

Belleville police are making more traffic stops because of a new rule that they make two self-initiated contacts per 12-hour shift. Those can include any combination of traffic tickets, traffic warnings and field interview reports.

In January 2010, before the requirement was in place for those assigned to patrol, officers wrote nine speeding tickets and 13 warning tickets. Last month, the first full month of the new rule, officers wrote 45 speeding tickets and 165 warning tickets.

Also, for all of 2010, police made 2,259 traffic stops. In January, the first full month of the two-contacts-per-day standard, police made 1,603 stops — 70 percent of last year’s total, all in one month.

Police Chief William Clay said it’s not just busy work, and it’s not about money from tickets. It’s his initiative to get officers more proactively engaged with the public. He thinks that’s the best way to address crime. In other words, the more contact officers have with the public, the more likely the officers are to find people with drugs, guns or arrest warrants.

Looks like the policy is “working,” but it really comes close to a quota system. Actually, it is a quota system, but it isn’t technically a ticket quota system.

* US District Judge James Zagel says he may hand out “No Trespassing” signs to jurors in Rod Blagojevich’s upcoming trial

Zagel said he was troubled by juror accounts after the first trial that they had been hounded by reporters in the hours and days following their verdict. A helicopter hovered over one juror’s home, and another juror complained that the same reporter rang the doorbell every half an hour, according to the judge. […]

The judge referred to the news media as “rapacious” at one point in the hearing and expressed concern that the dogged pursuit of jurors after a verdict will deter people from wanting to serve.

“We have clear evidence that some members of the media will disregard the ordinary rights of citizens … to get the story,” Zagel said.


1. Taking by force; plundering.
2. Greedy; ravenous. See Synonyms at voracious.
3. Subsisting on live prey.


* And an undaunted Sen. Dan Duffy continues his fight against red light cameras

Early this year Duffy introduced SB0026, a bill that would make it illegal for red-light cameras to be used to ticket drivers who turn right during a red light.

Duffy himself has received a ticket for a red-light violation after failing to come to a complete stop when he made a right turn during a red light. He said this infraction produces about 90 percent of all red-light tickets.

“Put a ‘No Turn On Red’ sign there, don’t bait the hook by putting a camera there that picks people out if they don’t stop on the white line,” Duffy said.

Actually, Sen. Duffy has received two red light camera tickets. Here’s the video from his second citation

The problem isn’t that there was no “No Turn On Red” sign at the intersection. You are allowed to turn on red at that light. But you’re supposed to stop first.

* Related…

* Dangerous doctors slipping through the cracks - It took the discovery of guns and grenades to suspend the license of a psychiatrist who some say should have come under scrutiny years earlier

* Illinois Blue Cross and Blue Shield to pay $25 million fraud settlement - Plan reportedly denied coverage to sick children in need of nursing care by “fraudulently” shifting their claims to Illinois’ Medicaid program

* Attorney General Madigan Announces Bill to Strengthen Illinois Prevailing Wage Act

* Environmental groups say agribusiness lobbying to blame for weak pollution regulations

* Foreman Stole $270K from O’Hare Project: Cops

* Quinn says Bishop Tutu, ‘Dead Man Walking’ nun lobbying him to sign death penalty ban

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - wordslinger - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 12:30 pm:

    What if there’s no probable cause for a Belleville copper to make two “self-inititated” stops in a 12-hour period? I’m afraid I already know the answer — they’ll find one.

  2. - Fed up - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 12:49 pm:

    I’m waiting for Attorney General Madigan to make some announcements regarding firings and prosecutions regarding her offices role in the massive workers comp fraud in Illinois.

  3. - Newsclown - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 12:52 pm:

    Belleville is a relatively polarized community, racially speaking, and has had a reputation for being aggressive on cases of “DWB”. I wonder if there is any statistical correlation with the new “high contact” strategy?

  4. - cermak_rd - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 1:02 pm:


    Do the police actually need probable cause for a traffic stop? I got stopped once in Western IL for drifting toward the shoulder. It was in a no-passing zone of a 55 mph rural high way with the cars in front of me going 35mph. I was trying to get a glimpse of what was causing the slowdown. The officer stopped me and apparently concluded that 2 middle aged adults with their 3 dogs were no menace to society and gave me a warning ticket.

  5. - paddyrollingstone - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 1:04 pm:

    “don’t bait the hook by putting a camera there that picks people out if they don’t stop on the white line.” I’m really not quite sure where he is coming from with this line. You have to stop at a red light. Period. If you are turning right you are permitted to do so AFTER you stop UNLESS a sign says “No Turn on Red.” Ergo, if you turn without stopping you have committed a violation.

  6. - Ghost - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 1:09 pm:

    Word, stand on any strret corner for about 20 min and you will find probabl cause for two stops. Most people seenm to take the ruls of the road as suggestions :)

    at least until Duffy gets busted and wants to get ri of those silly rules about stopping, speeding etc.

    Duffy wants to keep the rules on what to do at a red light, he just wants to eliminate a system which deterines if anyon is following them? why not change the rule, no need to stop if you think you can get away with it…make everyone happy.

  7. - Kevin Highland - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 1:31 pm:

    “…a new rule that they make two self-initiated contacts per 12-hour shift.”

    Shouldn’t the offender technically always be the one initiating a stop/contact? This sounds like a rule that allows for fishing expeditions and to “check your papers”. If there isn’t really a reason to be stopped, then you shouldn’t be stopped.

  8. - Tony - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 1:49 pm:

    I thought Cory Foster worked in the Governor’s office? It almost seems as if he is calling Quinn’s decision to stop MGT a mistake. My guess is this can be considered another flip flop by the administration!

  9. - Leave a light on George - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 2:08 pm:

    As a former LE officer if you can’t find a legitimate reason to stop 2 people in a 12 hr shift you’re a waste of oxygen.

  10. - ispretired - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 2:46 pm:

    You didn’t stop before you made a right turn , so you get a ticket, no reason to put an officer at all traffic lights,

  11. - dupage dan - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 2:51 pm:

    =The overreaction by Gov. Pat Quinn=

    A better description of PQ is not to be found. Got quite the wait until the next election folks - it’s gonna be a long ride.

  12. - wordslinger - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 2:51 pm:

    A few years back, the new police chief in Genoa got in a lot of trouble among the citizenry by saying in the local paper that he “liked a lot of traffic stops.”

    The point he was trying to make was he wanted his officers to know who was in town and what they were up to. It did not go over well at all, and he had to walk the cat back pretty quickly.

  13. - Bejeweled - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 3:30 pm:

    The crisis in Corrections from the MGT mess is at an all time high. Its time to get an inside, tried, and true IDOC person in as the Director to solve this issue. It would be of great benefit to the Governor’s office to choose a correctional professional who understands the history of the IDOC and has been in the trenches. Permanent leadership is needed!

  14. - Wensicia - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 4:15 pm:

    “The judge referred to the news media as “rapacious” at one point in the hearing and expressed concern that the dogged pursuit of jurors after a verdict will deter people from wanting to serve.”

    Oh yeah? Like we really have a choice whether to serve or not when it comes to jury duty?

  15. - Concerned - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 4:29 pm:

    It would be a breath of fresh air to actally see a professional run an agency and not a politician. Whether that is DOC or the State Police. Rumor has it Art Turner wants the DOC job. What can he possibly know about running prisons?

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