Criminal Justice Issues in the News

Criminal justice, public health and drug treatment professionals convene in Southern Illinois

Dr. David Olson gave the plenary address to kick off the Southern Illinois Drug Awareness Conference at John A. Logan College on April 13, 2016. The presentation provided an overview and reflection of how drug use, drug enforcement and drug treatment has changed on the 30th anniversary of the federal 1986 Anti-Drug Abuse Act, which initiated the unprecedented crackdown on drugs and what many refer to as “the War on Drugs.” The conference was attended by more than 500 treatment, criminal justice, education, and public health professionals.  For more information, see: http://www.wsiltv.com/story/31717974/annual-southern-illinois-drug-awareness-conference-held-at-jalc

Leadership Strategies Needed to Improve Outcomes of Justice-Involved Young People

CCJ Program Manager Lisa Jacobs moderated a panel discussion at the inaugural Dual Status Youth Symposium presented by the Robert F. Kennedy Childrens Action Corp in Boston, Massachusetts April 4 – 6.  The symposium brought together child welfare, juvenile justice, criminal justice, human services and other disciplines to share policy and programmatic strategies to improve the outcomes of young people involved in both child welfare and delinquency systems.  One of the key goals of system integration and coordination is to prevent a trajectory of these youth into the adult criminal justice system. The discussion moderated by Ms. Jacobs focused on effective leadership of state and local system improvement efforts and included judges from Atlanta, Indianapolis and Omaha as well as probation and child welfare leaders from Wisconsin and California. 

For more information on the symposium and panelists, see http://jjie.org/collaboration-sharing-data-key-to-helping-dual-status-youth-experts-say/224362/#

Illinois and Connecticut Consider Raising Juvenile Court Age Again, This Time Through 20

During the last decade, advocates in Connecticut and Illinois won contentious battles to keep young offenders in juvenile court until they turned 18 years old. Supporters of those efforts want to go even further, saying research into adolescent brain development makes the case for treating young adults differently from mature adults, reports the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange. Legislators in both states are considering bills to raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction through age 20.

What Will it Take to Stem Mass Incarceration?

In this 2016 Illinois Issues story, Center Co-Director David Olson, PhD comments on the length of criminal sentencing and the subsequent costs taxpayers are willing to spend.    He notes that most experts agree that significant reductions in the state's prison population can't be met by simply backing off the war on drugs. Instead, policymakers will have to look beyond the "nons” — nonviolent, nonserious and nonsexual offenders — and in so doing, challenge entrenched attitudes about crime and justice.

http://wuis.org/post/illinois-issues-what-will-it-take-stem-mass-incarceration#stream/0

Sens. Karen McConnaughay and Kwame Raoul: Following the voters on criminal justice reform

Illinois has a criminal justice crisis. There are lots of explanations about how we got to this situation. But the reality is that for decades, political leaders have responded to media coverage of crime by increasing the length of prison sentences and replacing judicial discretion with mandatory minimums, in order to be seen as “tough on crime.” The results of these “tough on crime” policies have been devastating — to our budget, and to neighborhoods all across Illinois. Meanwhile, there is a strong and growing body of evidence that our public safety goals would be better met by a “smart on crime” approach, reducing our use of incarceration and investing instead in proven rehabilitation and re-entry programs that reduce crime in the long term by assisting those who get in trouble with getting their lives on track.

http://www.sj-r.com/article/20160315/OPINION/160319737/?Start=1

Cook County Sheriff Dart: Jailing poor, mentally ill is unjust

The numbers of mentally ill people housed in the nation's prisons and jails are staggering, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart says, and many of them shouldn't be there.  Nationwide, of the two million people incarcerated, an estimated 356,000 prisoners suffer some form of mental illness. Cook County Jail alone houses as many as 3,000 people with a diagnosed mental illness, making it the largest mental health facility in the country, Dart said.

http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20160406/news/160409226/

Lawmakers Convene To Consider Young Adults in the Criminal Justice System

Progress Illinois reports on a joint committee hearing in the Illinois General Assembly House of Representatives to look at steps the state can take to keep young adults who break the law from reoffending. CCJ Program Manager Lisa Jacobs testified at the hearing regarding Loyola’s work to gather research, data and criminal justice stakeholder perspectives on the challenges and opportunities arising when young adults (ages 18 – 24) become involved in the justice system.  The Center will host a national conference on February 19th to advance effective policy and practice with this challenging population. 

For more information on the conference, seewww.luc.edu/emergingadults

For more information on the House Committee Hearing, seehttp://www.progressillinois.com/news/content/2016/01/22/experts-lawmakers-convene-reconsider-illinois-juvenile-court-system

President Obama issues guidance to corrections agencies on the use of solitary confinement, with a special note on handling young adults (age 18 – 24) and juveniles

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/barack-obama-why-we-must-rethink-solitary-confinement/2016/01/25/29a361f2-c384-11e5-8965-0607e0e265ce_story.html

https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/01/25/fact-sheet-department-justice-review-solitary-confinement?ed2f26df2d9c416fbddddd2330a778c6=uqmgdgqwpf-ujmfwdww

http://www.justice.gov/dag/file/815551/download?ed2f26df2d9c416fbddddd2330a778c6=ixfedexatx-icfbadaa