Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » Pritzker pushes back when Durkin says new law will “further weaken the criminal justice system”
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Pritzker pushes back when Durkin says new law will “further weaken the criminal justice system”

Monday, Dec 13, 2021 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Sun-Times

Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Friday signed legislation paving the way for $250 million in state funding to community groups that are working to reduce gun violence in Chicago’s hardest-hit neighborhoods and other parts of Illinois suffering the ripple effects of a nationwide crime spike.

The Reimagine Public Safety Act, which created a new state office for firearm violence prevention, was part of the budget Pritzker signed in the spring.

The trailer bill that was signed Friday — which state lawmakers advanced during the fall veto session — gives officials in the Illinois Department of Human Services more leeway in issuing the millions in grant funding and expands eligibility for groups already working to “interrupt” violence, according to Pritzker’s office.

Before signing the bill at a Washington Park news conference, Pritzker outlined Chicago’s most recent spate of fatal shootings — including that of a 71-year-old Chinatown resident who was apparently targeted at random earlier this week — and committed to investing in “neighborhoods that have been truly forgotten.”

“There are the countless children who have been taken from us far, far too soon. Too much tragedy. Too much loss. We are all here to say enough is enough,” Pritzker said, noting “the scourge of rising violence” has extended well beyond Chicago.

* A bit more from an administration press release…

In November, the Governor declared gun violence a public health crisis, launching a comprehensive approach to reducing gun violence. The administration pledged a $250 million state investment over the next three years to implement the plan in partnership with community-based organizations. The RPSA builds upon this initiative by requiring the state to pursue a data-driven approach to high-risk youth intervention programs and technical assistance and training. This will be administered by IDHS, in partnership with the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA) and the Firearm Violence Research Group.

* From a very different Friday press release…

Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) released the following statement on Governor Pritzker’s signing of legislation that will further weaken the criminal justice system.

“While violence in Illinois is at unprecedented levels, Governor Pritzker, the Illinois legislative Democrats and States Attorney Kim Foxx have created a “consequence free” Illinois for organized street gangs and criminals. Their collective dismissal of victims and law enforcement during this time will not be forgotten. My heart goes out to the thousands of victims of crime that our government continues to fail.”

* Pritzker administration response…

Leader Durkin’s empty talking point is devoid not only of a serious approach to reducing crime but also suggests a lack of reading comprehension of the law. This law strengthens the Reimagine Public Safety Act, a data-driven, community based initiative designed to prevent and interrupt gun violence and fund violence reduction efforts. Violence reduction efforts are essential for having fewer victims of crime. If Republicans truly cared about reducing crime and helping victims, they wouldn’t have decimated mental health, victim support services and after school programs – and they would’ve voted for budgets and legislation put forward by Governor Pritzker and the General Assembly that fund proven violence reduction.


…Adding… From Sen. Robert Peters (D-Chicago)…

Leader Durkin has a history of picking the wrong time to speak up. He was silent while Bruce Rauner was destroying the very communities that the Reimagine Public Safety Act - which passed with 52 votes in the Senate - will invest in. I want to thank my Republican colleagues for stepping up on this occasion to reimagine public safety.


  1. - Chicagonk - Monday, Dec 13, 21 @ 9:54 am:

    There has to be a balance of prevention, intervention, enforcement, and reentry activities. I like that the law is focused on data-driven solutions - I would highly recommend checking out the Crime Solutions website from the National Institute of Justice (which is part of the DOJ).

  2. - Responsa - Monday, Dec 13, 21 @ 10:04 am:

    The wording of the Pritzker admin response is surprisingly and unnecessarily insulting. It seems tone deaf to the fact that crime/gun violence as is daily documented in the news, raising questions about current exposed criminal justice policies, is topmost on peoples’ minds right now regardless of political party or affiliation.

  3. - Anon E Moose - Monday, Dec 13, 21 @ 10:05 am:

    “violence in Illinois is at unprecedented levels”

    you’re just making stuff up to scare your base. again.

  4. - Cheryl44 - Monday, Dec 13, 21 @ 10:09 am:

    I think that’s “Leader” Durkin. I don’t see him actually fulfilling any kind of leadership role.

  5. - Captain Obvious - Monday, Dec 13, 21 @ 10:10 am:

    That 250 million would have been better spent on the 3 Ps. Policing. Prosecution. Prisons. Instead we are expanding and throwing more money at an existing policy that is obviously not working.

  6. - CCrider - Monday, Dec 13, 21 @ 10:25 am:

    So between the City of Chicago and Cook County Governments, over $70,000,000 has been spent on community violence reduction organizations in just the past 4 years. So why is violence still ramped?
    When will they actually demand results? Who are the “organizations” getting these tax payer dollars? Their results are horrid.

  7. - Downstate - Monday, Dec 13, 21 @ 10:25 am:

    Captain Obvious.
    I loved the line from the press release “Neighborhoods that have been forgotten…”

    Forgotten by who? By the politicians? By business owners?

    Before spending a quarter of a billion dollars it would be nice to see specific programs and groups that have delivered the promised respite from the violence.

    The Mag. Mile has never been forgotten by politicians or business people, but the violence there continues to grow. It’s certainly not the result of being “forgotten”.

    Rather, might it be a surrender, in part, by enforcement officials of being “tough on crime”?

  8. - NotRich - Monday, Dec 13, 21 @ 10:29 am:

    Crime.. will be the focus of the 2022 elections.. it is high on the list of concerns of suburban moms..JB, Mayor Lori, and all the progressive Dems are failing to see this

  9. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Dec 13, 21 @ 10:34 am:

    === Rather, might it be a surrender===

    Then your beef is with Lightfoot if there’s a surrendering.

    It doesn’t help with your want to blame, but the over the top “surrendering” would be a municipal beef.

  10. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Dec 13, 21 @ 10:35 am:

    ===high on the list of concerns of suburban moms===

    Now do abortion… 2022.

  11. - DuPage - Monday, Dec 13, 21 @ 10:36 am:

    Better ankle monitors with GPS would be a good investment for the Cook County Sheriff. Some of the “violence prevention money” should go to that.

  12. - Rich Miller - Monday, Dec 13, 21 @ 10:37 am:

    CCrider, CPD’s annual budget is like $2 billion. Don’t hear you asking the same question about it

  13. - Downstate - Monday, Dec 13, 21 @ 10:44 am:

    “Then your beef is with Lightfoot if there’s a surrendering.”

    So we have the Springfield Democrats wanting to spend a quarter billion dollars to solve a problem being exacerbated by Chicago Democrats. Lovely.

  14. - Jockey - Monday, Dec 13, 21 @ 10:45 am:

    Here’s a list of Cook County Sheriff’s EM list by charge:

  15. - Amalia - Monday, Dec 13, 21 @ 10:47 am:

    we are now under an even more heightened microscope for groups that get the money. each incident of some worker who used to be affiliated with a gang going wrong again will be highlighted. while it is true that violent crime is up all across the nation, each incident reflects across other locations, amplified by the internet, the screaming media, the bad decisions in other locations. the christmas tree fire in NYC made real the no bail situation there, the new laws created more talk of so called progressive prosecutors, other locales and crime. crime will be a prime issue in the next elections. you signed this into law, be vigilant in the success of the programs and weed out bad actors.

  16. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Dec 13, 21 @ 10:48 am:

    ==Springfield Democrats… Chicago Democrats. Lovely.===

    So it’s a partisan thingy.

    You’d think a Republican could win instead of the Chicago GOP supporting a Dem for mayor…

    Like I said, your beef is with Lightfoot.

    You wanna make it a Dem thing, then it should ge slam dunk easy to win in Chicago if it’s the Dem’s fault, amirite?

    Your angst wth She-Caw-Go versus what’s being discussed isn’t the same thing.

  17. - Magic Dragon - Monday, Dec 13, 21 @ 10:49 am:

    Sounds eerily similar to the days when the State was providing millions of dollars to Operation Ceasefire for “violence interrupters”. However, instead of interrupting violence, the money was being used to fund gang activity, purchase weapons, drugs, SUV’s. The administration better keep strong tabs on how this money is actually being utilized.

  18. - Dankakee - Monday, Dec 13, 21 @ 10:53 am:

    I don’t understand how you do crime reduction without poverty reduction. If you’re referring to “forgotten neighborhoods” What’s the plan for increasing business activity and homeownership? It seems like asking for chickens without eggs.

  19. - Downstate - Monday, Dec 13, 21 @ 10:57 am:

    “Then it should ge slam dunk easy to win in Chicago”

    Entrenched powers never justify bad decisioning, particularly when lives and businesses are being lost.

  20. - The Opinions Bureau - Monday, Dec 13, 21 @ 11:01 am:

    Ronald Reagan would be disappointed in Leader Durkin for so forcefully bashing legislation supported by his Republican colleagues in the Senate, including the frontrunner for the party’s gubernatorial nomination.

  21. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Dec 13, 21 @ 11:01 am:

    ==Entrenched powers===


    Win. Win elections.

  22. - SWIL_Voter - Monday, Dec 13, 21 @ 11:07 am:

    “ That 250 million would have been better spent on the 3 Ps. Policing. Prosecution. Prisons.”

    When the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a mail. This is what we’ve been doing for decades. We imprison more of our people than any country on earth. Chicago spends half its discretionary budget on policing. Can’t possibly think of a more useless recommendation than this

  23. - charles in charge - Monday, Dec 13, 21 @ 11:09 am:

    ==The wording of the Pritzker admin response is surprisingly and unnecessarily insulting.==

    You mean in comparison with the very serious and measured and not-insulting-at-all tone of the Durkin release accusing the Governor and others of “creat[ing] a ‘consequence free’ Illinois for organized street gangs and criminals”?

  24. - charles in charge - Monday, Dec 13, 21 @ 11:10 am:

    ==That 250 million would have been better spent on the 3 Ps. Policing. Prosecution. Prisons. Instead we are expanding and throwing more money at an existing policy that is obviously not working.==

    Throwing billions at police, prosecutions, and prisons literally IS the current policy and has been for decades.

  25. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Dec 13, 21 @ 11:14 am:

    A big part of racism is lavishing the richest and corporations with tax cuts but always refusing to give extra to the poorest communities. Notice how certain people love austerity for poor communities of color and push “law and order” for them. Government investment in poor communities is when the debt scolding starts, not when Rauner, Trump and the GOP explode debt and deficits.

  26. - KSDinCU - Monday, Dec 13, 21 @ 11:35 am:

    “However, instead of interrupting violence, the money was being used to fund gang activity, purchase weapons, drugs, SUV’s.”

    Magic Dragon, can you provide sources for this? All I see is some individual cases, and I can’t find a report on widespread misuse of funding within Ceasefire.

  27. - JS Mill - Monday, Dec 13, 21 @ 12:43 pm:

    =The wording of the Pritzker admin response is surprisingly and unnecessarily insulting.=

    LOL. Such a woke little snowflake.

  28. - 4 percent - Monday, Dec 13, 21 @ 1:09 pm:

    Democrats control the Governor’s office, every Constitutional office, the General Assembly, Cook County, and the City of Chicago. Yet they still want to blame the GOP.

  29. - Lucky Pierre - Monday, Dec 13, 21 @ 1:11 pm:

    Well you don’t expect Democrats to admit the obvious do you?

    Their public safety reforms are spectacularly failing.

  30. - Amalia - Monday, Dec 13, 21 @ 1:31 pm:

    Magic Dragon is…in my opinion…exaggerating. but there have been several problematic individuals employed. and an attitude towards the police….starting over 20 years ago…that was inappropriate. the ask was for collaboration but the police were often left out, not given credit. I’ve heard talk that is so self congratulatory that it was out of bounds, as if nothing else matters but Ceasefire. that makes the individuals with criminal episodes who are employed by such as Ceasefire more under the magnifying glass.

  31. - JS Mill - Monday, Dec 13, 21 @ 1:38 pm:

    =Their public safety reforms are spectacularly failing.=

    Your usual obtuseness is not backed by any data. As usual.

  32. - Demoralized - Monday, Dec 13, 21 @ 2:22 pm:

    ==Their public safety reforms are spectacularly failing.==

    The bill was just signed. How can it be “spectacularly failing” if it hasn’t even been implemented yet? Kinda got ahead of yourself with your bot programming didn’t you?

  33. - The Young Gov - Monday, Dec 13, 21 @ 2:24 pm:

    There is a pervasive narrative that we have been funding these evidence-based violence reduction interventions *at scale* for years when the reality is we never have. We fund small pockets of things, but never to match the scale of the issue. With the current scale of interventions, it’s like having enough quality heart surgeons to help just one out of every 20 people who are in desperate need of heart care. The bulk of this new money will not be on the street until well into 2022 (which is awful).

    And to the point about dems not caring about victims of crime, our system has never given victims of crime what they need (so let’s be clear, all parties have failed). Young men of color have the highest rates of victimization. Our interventions should be wrapping around them because when we don’t, they become the victimizer, which is the current cycle we are caught in. Rebuilding trust between law enforcment and our communities most impacted by violence is foundational and we have a long way to go. It starts with more effective and fair policing and strong victims support services at both the community and policing level.

  34. - sal-says - Monday, Dec 13, 21 @ 2:52 pm:

    Great. The Party of NO. Instead of lauding efforts to address crime, we simply get another nonsensical whine.

  35. - charles in charge - Monday, Dec 13, 21 @ 2:54 pm:

    ==The bill was just signed. How can it be “spectacularly failing” if it hasn’t even been implemented yet? Kinda got ahead of yourself with your bot programming didn’t you?==

    Perhaps LP was talking about the SAFE-T Act which was signed in February? Oh wait, most of that bill has also not yet taken effect. Republicans can’t seem to get their story straight about which reforms are supposedly driving crime, but they all agree on peddling that election-year narrative.

  36. - Watchful eye. - Monday, Dec 13, 21 @ 3:14 pm:

    Democrats are setting themselves up for big losses in a year if they don’t get on this. The Governor’s roll out of what is essentially phase iI of Pat Quinn’s Neighborhood Recovery Initiative was incredibly tone deaf

  37. - Leslie K - Monday, Dec 13, 21 @ 4:31 pm:

    ===I don’t understand how you do crime reduction without poverty reduction.===

    I think this is a very good point. I believe strategies like violence interrupters have an important role to play, but they are crisis intervention. Crisis prevention must also be a focus (which this new legislation does seems to contemplate). By the time a 14 year old grabs a gun to settle a personal beef and needs to be “interrupted,” how many moments have we missed to send him in an entirely different–and positive– direction?

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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