Insights & Information
from the fields of Criminal Justice, Recovery and Restoration of Citizenship
The Council of State Governments Justice Center released a report comparing three-year recidivism rates among seven states that have recently implemented targeted and evidence-based reentry reforms. Among the seven states, the report cites that recidivism rates decreased as much as 18 percent and not less than 6 percent. This is encouraging evidence that effective, evidence-based reforms can improve public safety and save tax dollars. Read the full report here.
In February, the John Howard Association (JHA) visited three Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) southern facilities: IYC-Harrisburg, IYC-Murphysboro, and IYC-Pere Marquette, and have released a report with the group's findings and assessment of these facilities. The report includes focus on treatment programs, education, vocational programs, re-entry preparation, staff/youth relations, and physical conditions. JHA recommended areas for improvement at all three facilities, but also reports that they were impressed by many of the programs administered. The group advocates for continued efforts in youth re-entry preparation and supports the Governor's plan to close two of the facilities. To read the full report, click here.
Governor Releases Budget Proposal; Plans to Close Adult & Juvenile Correctional Facilities, Transition Centers
With the release of his budget recommendations for FY13, Governor Quinn announced the closure of two juvenile justice facilities (Murphysboro and Joliet). While there are mixed review of this plan, some criminal justice reform advocates have come out in support of the plan on the grounds that it could both save the state money and permit youth to receive rehabilitative services and treatments in their communitites rather than behind bars. Additionally, the Governor wants to close two adult facilities (Tamms "supermax" prison, and Dwight) and six transitional centers, which serve as halfway houses for people leaving prison and returning to their communities. To read media coverage of the budget and closures, click here, here, here, and here.
Read responses to the Governor's budget and planned closures from several IACJ member organizations:
Before Illinois' meritorious good time (MGT) program was suspended in 2010, individuals serving time in Illinois prisons for non-violent offenses could have up to 180 days of incarceration deducted as a reward for good behavior. MGT was halted when it became clear that some individuals were being released before they had spent sufficient time in IDOC. This issue has since been resolved, and Illinois law now requires inmates to serve at least 60 days in prison before they can receive any good time credit.
Since MGT was suspended, Illinois has increased its prison population by 4,000. At a time when other states are successfully and responsibly reducing their prison populations, Illinois currently houses a record-high 49,000 people in state prisons. Medium and minimum-security facilities, which primarily hold low-level, non-violent offenders, face the most severe crowding. These conditions impede rehabilitation efforts and create dangerous environments for both staff and inmates. MGT is widely recognized as a necessary corrections management tool; it is supported by research as an effective incentive for good behavior. The current situation of incarcerating more people for longer periods of time is extremely expensive to Illinois taxpayers. As Illinois is facing historic budget shortfalls, the reinstatement of MGT would help save scarce public dollars.
If you would like to add your voice to the growing numbers advocating the program's responsible reinstitution, click here for a letter you can personalize and mail to Governor Quinn.
The Vera Institute of Justice's Center on Sentencing and Corrections and Cost-Benefit Analysis Unit developed a methodology to calculate the taxpayer cost of prisons, including costs outside states’ corrections budgets. Among the 40 states that participated in a survey, the cost of prisons was $38.8 billion in fiscal year 2010, $5.4 billion more than what their corrections budgets reflected. States’ costs outside their corrections departments ranged from less than 1 percent of total prison costs in Arizona to as much as 34 percent in Connecticut. In Illinois, the average annual cost per inmate in FY2010 was $38,268, significantly higher than the $22,043 reported in the Illinois Department of Corrections' 2010 Annual Report. Vera's full report provides the taxpayer cost of incarcerating a sentenced adult offender to state prison in 40 states, presents the methodology, and concludes with recommendations about steps policy makers can take to safely rein in these costs. To view the full report and state fact sheets, click here.
- Report on Best Practice Standards on the Proper Use of Criminal Records in Hiring
- JHA Reports: IDJJ and Northern R&C
- Cook Co. Clerk Hosts Expungement Summit
- JHA Report: Menard Correctional Center
- Report: Investigating the Link Between Housing Vouchers and Crime
- Sentencing Project Report: Evaluating the Justice Reinvestment Initiative
- ALERT: HB2265 / SB1003 – Mandatory Minimum Sentencing for Unlawful Use of Weapons Convictions
- ALERT: HB2404 - Raise the Age of Juvenile Court to 18 for All Offenses
- FAMM Report: How Sentencing Safety Valves Can Increase Public Safety and Save Money
- MacArthur Foundation Project: Mistakes Kids Make
- Chicago News (10)
- Cook County (9)
- corrections spending (41)
- criminal justice system (104)
- diversion (17)
- Drug laws (20)
- employment (17)
- Events (2)
- Expungement (5)
- funding (26)
- Illinois news (49)
- juveniles (19)
- national news (43)
- Pew Center (3)
- Police (7)
- probation (5)
- public opinion (2)
- public safety (16)
- racial disparity (8)
- re-entry (29)
- Sentencing (12)
- state budget (14)
- State News (5)
- Take Action (22)
- The Sentencing Project (8)