* A completely preventable near-tragedy…
A 15-year-old boy was accidentally shot in the abdomen [yeserday] morning by his brother in a home near Harvard, authorities said.
The brothers found an unsecured .22 caliber rifle and were playing with it, thinking it was unloaded, according to a news release from the McHenry County Sheriff’s Department.
One juvenile pulled the trigger, shooting his brother in the abdomen, according to the release. The boy was listed in stable condition at Rockford Memorial Hospital, where he was undergoing surgery, the release said. […]
The brothers had been staying there with adults while their parents were out of town, authorities said. The parents of the juveniles have been notified.
* And for the life of me, I just don’t understand this…
A 13-year-old boy was in police custody [yesterday] afternoon for the shooting of three boys, ages 14 and 17, Monday in the Longwood Manor neighborhood on the Far South Side, authorities said.
The victims were standing on a street corner in the 9700 block of South Lowe Avenue when a group of people approached and someone opened fire around 6 p.m. Monday, Police News Affairs Officer Veejay Zala said.
One boy, 17, was shot in the head and armpit and taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in critical condition, Zala said. Another victim, 14, was taken in critical condition at Little Company of Mary Hospital with gunshot wounds to his chest and arm. Police said the third boy, also 14, was stable at Little Company of Mary with a wound to his right thigh.
…Adding... On a somewhat related note, when Rep. Mike Zalewski introduced legislation earlier this year to increase mandatory penalties for some Chicago gun crimes, it appeared to be a slam dunk. But opposition from African-American and other lawmakers fed up with mandatory minimums stopped the bill dead in its tracks. There’s a growing trend of this push-back around the country, Illinois Public Radio reports…
“There’s an awful lot of information out there,” [Kathy Saltmarsh, head of the Illinois Sentencing Policy Advisory Council] says. “There’s been a pretty ongoing and robust national discussion about our overuse of incarceration, a growing awareness that many of those we incarcerate are there because of addiction or mental health issues. And when you’re imprisoned, the likelihood that you have will that addressed is really pretty small.”
That’s because even though the Department of Corrections consumes more than $1.2 billion dollars a year, its budget is stretched thin. State prisons are also crowded — at more than 150 percent of their rated capacity.
Those are among the factors that have driven sentencing changes across the country. That’s given the movement a perhaps surprising ally: conservatives. The Texas-based group Right on Crime has the support of big name Republicans like former House speaker Newt Gingrich and former Florida governor Jeb Bush.
Right on Crime’s Derek Cohen, a criminologist, says this requires a rethink of what prison is for.
“Prison is for the people we’re scared of, not the people we’re mad at,” Cohen says. “In other words, prison is for the people that need to be incapacitated while they receive rehabilitation or while they receive their punishment.”
Cohen says Right on Crime has found success in Republican-led states, and thus the group hasn’t been active in strongly Democratic Illinois. It seems the Republican reputation for being tough on crime gives them cover when it comes to a less politicized sentencing scheme.
“It’s almost a case of: it took Nixon to go to China, (and) it took Texas to say this needs to stop right now,” Cohen says.
That’s a really fascinating take.
[With apologies to IPR for going beyond Fair Use. But it’s an interesting and important story.]