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Criminal justice reform commission issues final report

Wednesday, Jan 11, 2017

* SJ-R

Gov. Bruce Rauner’s Criminal Justice Reform Commission delivered its final report Tuesday that aims to reduce Illinois’ prison population and improve public safety.

The report includes 13 new recommendations to expand on what the commission gave to the governor last year, with 27 proposed changes total.

“The commission identified a number of avenues to transform Illinois’ criminal justice system to safely reduce the prison population,” Rodger Heaton, the commission’s chairman and state’s public safety director, said in a written statement. “These recommendations if implemented fully and executed effectively will achieve the governor’s goal of reducing the prison population by 25 percent in 10 years.” […]

Some of the new recommendations include increasing rehabilitative and treatment services in high-need communities; collecting data on race and ethnicity at every point of the criminal justice system for analysis; training on racial and ethnic bias for employees working in the criminal justice system; and readjusting sentence recommendations to focus on rehabilitation while still holding people accountable for their crimes.

The full report is here. Go check it out and tell us what you think.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Precinct Captain - Wednesday, Jan 11, 17 @ 2:59 pm:


    A lot of talk about doing this or doing that, but no specific and identifiable sources of funding.

  2. - Earnest - Wednesday, Jan 11, 17 @ 3:19 pm:

    It’s a nice set of recommendations, and to my eye seems non-partisan. An ongoing effort from Rauner, I like the recommendation for strong data keeping and evaluation as parts of the whole system. Nice to see the need for social services identified, and the note that funding levels must be adequate. Also nice to have a system where they are evaluated for effectiveness as they go along. This is the kind of governor Rauner had (has?) the potential to be. Kudos.

  3. - AlfondoGonz - Wednesday, Jan 11, 17 @ 3:26 pm:

    I loathe the governor and find him to be a heartless, incompetent, inept fool, but his work regarding criminal justice reform deserves commendation. I’ve sat in on the hearings where this commission reports, and it has been enlightening and, if the recommendations are followed, could prove to be a huge first step in addressing a huge problem in our state.

  4. - CEA - Wednesday, Jan 11, 17 @ 3:54 pm:

    These seem like reasonable and effective recommendations. However, a number of them (service delivery, CJCCs, training, data collection, reporting and evaluation) require additional staff time and/or expenditures on the part of local service providers, law enforcement agencies and criminal justice systems to which the State already owes millions in deferred payments, and is proposing to further sabotage with property tax freezes. These recommendations are a good start. Now show me the money.

  5. - Chicagonk - Wednesday, Jan 11, 17 @ 4:17 pm:

    I’m only through page 9, but i disagree with the report recommendations regarding class 3 felonies. In Chicago, Agg Battery with a Firearm is what is Cook County prosecutors charge anyone arrested for shooting and injuring another person if the injury does not result in death. For some reason, that is a Class 3 Felony, meaning that currently, the minimum sentence is 2 years and the max is 5 years. On page 9, the report recommends that for Class 3 felonies, the judge should explain why incarceration would be an appropriate sentence. Apparently “shooting someone with a firearm” would no longer be sufficient reason to lock someone up for longer than the 2 years they currently have to serve (a good rule of thumb is with the exception of first degree murder, take a sentence and divide it in half and that is when they will be out of IDOC).

  6. - Zeke - Wednesday, Jan 11, 17 @ 5:11 pm:

    Chicago k - Aggravated Battery With a Firearm is a Class X nonprobational 6 to 30 year felony. But sometimes the facts in court bear out that charge is not sustainable or otherwise plead down to a Class 3 Aggravated Battery based on different elements that the Class offense. At least that is my understanding.

  7. - gopower - Wednesday, Jan 11, 17 @ 5:12 pm:

    A (very) quick read indicates that a lot of the recomendations just call for reducing penalties, which logically will create more crime.

    However, the ideas to increase “good behavior” credits to inmates who go above and beyond to rehabilitate — i.e., more than just not stabbing their cellmates — seem very worthy.

  8. - MAMA - Wednesday, Jan 11, 17 @ 5:24 pm:

    If someone shoots someone, they should be locked up for more than 2 years.

  9. - Chicagonk - Wednesday, Jan 11, 17 @ 5:42 pm:

    @Zeke - You are correct. The problem is that the way the court system works in Cook versus how it works in the rest of the state makes the issue of sentencing reform difficult to address. When you see criminals serve 2 year sentences for armed robbery when there is clear video evidence of the crime occurring, it is frustrating. Especially with the violence right now in Chicago.

  10. - Chicagonk - Wednesday, Jan 11, 17 @ 5:42 pm:

    @Zeke - You are correct. The problem is that the way the court system works in Cook versus how it works in the rest of the state makes the issue of sentencing reform difficult to address. When you see criminals serve 2 year sentences for armed robbery when there is clear video evidence of the crime occurring, it is frustrating. Especially with the violence right now in Chicago.

  11. - Headslap - Wednesday, Jan 11, 17 @ 5:51 pm:

    @Zeke & Chicagonk…that’s the problem Cook County has a horrible history of pleading cases meaning reduced charges. So, the culture must change regarding plea bargains and quickly expediting cases versus addressing the crime problems. A person must be punished for the crime they committed not what they were allowed to plead to. It is them that the recommendation may be effective.

  12. - Touré's Latte - Wednesday, Jan 11, 17 @ 6:39 pm:

    Kind if a criminal system Six Sigma with the feedback loops. Overall, it is worth trying. As constructed they WILL find out if it works.

  13. - striketoo - Wednesday, Jan 11, 17 @ 7:35 pm:

    Decriminalize drugs (aka the Portugal approach). What people put in their own bodies (as long as they don’t DUI) is their business.

  14. - West Side the Best Side - Wednesday, Jan 11, 17 @ 7:39 pm:

    Chicagonk - Do you have anything to back up your claim that someone received two years for armed robbery (a Class X, 6-30 year range with add-one of 15, 20, 25 to natural life based on firearm use) with “clear video evidence” that an armed robbery in fact occurred. Got to call you out for “fake news” otherwise.

  15. - Chicagonk - Wednesday, Jan 11, 17 @ 10:32 pm:

    @West Side - If you are interested in the details, go to Plenty of examples to choose from.

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