Suffredin- For a Better Cook County  
 

Accountability
Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions
Unsung Heroine

 

   
 
   
   
 
   
     
  Office phone numbers:  
   
 
 

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

   
 

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

   
  The first blood bank in the world was established at Cook County Hospital by Dr. Bernard Fantus in 1937.
   
     
     
     



Drug program cuts threaten public safety: judges

Friday, June 26, 2009
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin
by Jerry Crimmins

The chief judge of Cook County and several judges at Criminal Courts have decried state budget cuts in treatment programs for addicts in the court system.

The judges say such cuts will expand populations of state prisons and the County Jail and harm the safety of the public.

Moreover, the loss of the treatment option for non-violent addicts will mean their cases will take longer to dispose of and clog the dockets, several judges say.

"A considerable strain upon the court system will likely result,'' stated Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans in a letter sent this week to state leaders.

Evans sent his letter to Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton, and Michael J. Madigan, speaker of the Illinois House. Evans "respectfully'' objected to cuts in state funding for substance abuse treatment scheduled to go into effect July 1.

"If an abrupt stop to these services occurs on July 1,'' Evans added, "much needed support for and supervision of at risk offenders may end, and the judiciary will be left without alternatives for them.

"My concerns also include a possible compromising of public safety.''

Modern drug treatment programs are "an effective way of reducing recidivism,'' said Dennis J. Porter, supervising associate judge at Criminal Courts.

Without the treatment and rehabilitation option, many addicts who might have been helped will resume addiction and crime to support their habits upon release from jail or prison, said Associate Judge Marcus R. Salone.

"They will just be a burden to the courts, our budget, and ultimately the safety of the people,'' Salone said.

"They will be breaking into cars, stealing radios, breaking into box cars, shoplifting — and unfortunately, having physical confrontations in search of some funds,'' by which Salone said he meant robberies of all sorts.

Some drug treatment providers have already stopped accepting new cases.

Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities, or TASC, which last year diverted 25,000 people from the justice system into treatment for drug and alcohol addiction and mental illness, has "closed intake,'' said Pamela Rodriguez, executive vice president of the organization.

"We received a letter from the [Illinois] Department of Human Services that says our funding was cut 75 percent,'' she said.

TASC told Criminal Courts judges in Cook County "to stop making referrals,'' Rodriguez said.

TASC placed its staff on furlough until July 16 to see whether the state legislature and the governor revisit the budget and restore funds to TASC.

TASC did say it will place names of potential clients who are criminal defendants on a waiting list although it won't be able to evaluate them for now.

For the present, TASC has asked the judges to allow a continuance of at least two months for any defendant who is put on the waiting list who is free on bond and 45 days for any defendant who is in custody.

There will be "a snowball effect on jail crowding and disposition of cases,'' said Circuit Judge Joseph G. Kazmierski Jr. at Criminal Courts.

And if the treatment option is lost, this will have "a dramatic effect on the community at large,'' Kazmierski said, including loss of opportunity to turn some addicts "into productive people in our community.''

Also, if residential treatment programs for non-violent offenders who are addicts are no longer an option, Kazmierski said, "I may not give them probation.…They may be going to prison.… increasing the cost to the state as a whole.''

Judges interviewed said the cost to the state of each new prison inmate was $20,000 to $22,000 a year.

"Our jails will get bigger and fuller,'' Kazmierski predicted.

Salone pointed out that under state law, 20 ILCS 301/40-5, non-violent criminal offenders who are addicts but who are not drug dealers have the right to "elect treatment under the supervision of a licensed program.''

Some defendants may still insist on this right, he said, meaning their cases will be dragged out on court dockets.

Other eligible defendants, because of the difficulty getting into treatment programs due to budget cuts, may elect to plead guilty, take their punishment, then return to the streets and resume their former behavior.

Rodriguez of TASC said, "We're not giving up the fight.…We are hoping there will be some improvement in that final [state] budget, maybe as soon as June 30."

jcrimmins@lbpc.com



Recent Headlines

Cook County Land Bank Authority Announces Opening of Registration to Give Away a Free Home
Tuesday, August 13, 2019
The Chicago Crusader

NEW ILLINOIS LAW ENDS $120 FEE TO CLEAR FALSE CRIMINAL RECORDS IN COOK COUNTY
Friday, August 09, 2019
Illinois Policy

Top Cook County Jail chess players take on the world
Wednesday, August 07, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Public defender takes shots at Chicago Police gun offender webpage
Wednesday, August 07, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Commentary: Data alone won’t stop Chicago gun violence; Cook County needs a public ‘Violence Reduction Dashboard’
Wednesday, August 07, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Jail detainees take on inmates around the world in online chess tournament
Tuesday, August 06, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Here’s What You Need To Know About The Ongoing Bail Debate In Chicago
Monday, August 05, 2019
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

Cook County Jail hosts international chess tournament
Monday, August 05, 2019
WGN Chicago

Cook County property taxes are due today, Aug. 1.
Thursday, August 01, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Forest Preserves of Cook County Celebrate Dan Ryan Woods Investments
Thursday, August 01, 2019
Chicago Defender

Cook County TIFs generate $1.2 billion
Thursday, August 01, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Changes coming to Cook County assessor’s office
Thursday, August 01, 2019
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

In Chicago, TIF Revenues Soaring
Wednesday, July 31, 2019
WTTW News

A controversial tax subsidy program will generate a record $1.2 billion in revenue. Here’s what the number means for Chicago.
Wednesday, July 31, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Group to rally in support of Kim Foxx as challengers emerge
Tuesday, July 30, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

Report: Incarceration Rates Drop Nearly 20% Under Kim Foxx
Monday, July 29, 2019
WTTW Chicago

Lightfoot blames bond court reform for gun violence
Thursday, July 25, 2019
Chicago Reporter

Cook County Health Hires Audit Firm To Review Scathing Inspector General Report
Thursday, July 25, 2019
WBEZ News

Former County Commissioner Shocked Animal Abuser Registry He Worked To Create Was Never Used
Thursday, July 25, 2019
CBS Chicago

No one on County Board sharing Arroyo’s view of inspector general
Wednesday, July 24, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.
^ TOP