On August 25, 2009, Governor Pat Quinn signed into law the Illinois Crime Reduction Act, Public Act 096-0761, which became effective on January 1, 2010.The Act encourages the various components of the criminal justice system to take an integrated approach to crime risk and punishment, and declares it the policy of Illinois to preserve public safety, reduce crime, and make the most effective use of correctional resources.This will lead to the development of new tools throughout the state’s entire justice system that will ensure all law enforcement can better target resources, more effectively reduce crime and strengthen communities. At the same time, it will help IDOC to manage safer, more efficient prisons.
The purpose of the Act is to create an infrastructure to provide effective resources and services to incarcerated individuals and individuals supervised in the locality; to hold offenders accountable; to successfully rehabilitate offenders to prevent future involvement with the criminal justice system; to measure the overall effectiveness of the criminal justice system in achieving this policy; and to create the Adult Redeploy Illinois program for those who do not fall under the definition of violent offenders.
This comprehensive reform package will fundamentally reshape the criminal justice delivery system by using best practices that are based on a continuum of risks and needs assessment instruments. These instruments will be used at various levels in the criminal justice system to include pretrial, probation, prison and parole. The purpose of the Act is to make better use of resources devoted to each of these functions and to provide a standardized set of validated risk and needs assessment instruments for use in the system.
The Crime Reduction Act is based on the premise that crime can be reduced and the costs of the criminal justice system can be controlled by understanding and addressing the reasons why people commit crimes. It is based on the premise that local jurisdictions—judicial circuits or counties—know best what resources are necessary to reduce crime. Rigorous evaluation processes with standardized performance measurements are required to confirm the effectiveness of services in reducing crime.
One aspect of the reform package will reduce the number of offenders sent to IDOC by creating a new program to help divert adults from the state prison system and focus on more effective crime reduction methods. Two million dollars will be used to encourage counties to use community-based diversion programs for those non-violent offenders who would have otherwise received a short-term prison sentence. Reducing the prison population will save the department money, stimulate the economy and help reduce recidivism.
The Act also calls for the implementation of an automated integrated system to link courts, probation, prison and parole. Such a link will help formulate an offender’s reentry plan and reduce recidivism. It will identify resources and services needed, such as substance abuse programming and job placement, as well as other factors, including education level, skills, attitude and relationships that can affect the outcomes related to the reentry process.
For more information about the Crime Reduction Act visit the following sites: Adult Redeploy Illinois Oversight Board, RANA Task Force, and Sentencing Policy Advisory Council.