Law enforcement officials criticized state lawmakers and Gov. Rauner on Wednesday for failing to pass a state budget, saying it’s hurting public safety.
States attorneys, sheriffs and police chiefs say youth crime-diversion programs are serving fewer teens due to lack of state funds. Many counties that participate in Redeploy Illinois have left the program, impacting counseling services offered to teens at risk of incarceration.
St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly argued the lack of funding for Redeploy Illinois potentially could put teens on a criminal path well into their adult years.
“These are real people, these are real kids that are going to wind up not just in the Department of Juvenile Justice, we know when they aren’t receiving Redeploy, there’s a good chance they’re going to wind up in the Department of Corrections,” Kelly said.
Click here for summary
According to a survey by the group Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, some 300 teens who would have been given counseling to prevent incarceration have been impacted by counties not participating in Redeploy Illinois. According to Union County State’s Attorney Tyler Edmonds failure to fund programs like Redeploy leaves a burden that's felt county wide.
“There is no doubt that the failure to provide these services is a tremendous burden on our courtrooms, on our police, and ultimately on our society,” Edmonds said.
Asked about the concerns of the law enforcement community Wednesday, Gov. Bruce Rauner said he supports Redeploy, but years of structural deficits and failure to pass pro-growth policies are a problem.
“Because we haven't had balanced budgets, businesses leave, we lose jobs, people become unemployed, crime goes up, human service needs go up because we're not growing our economy," Rauner said.
The governor said growing the state’s economy, along with criminal justice reforms, will help combat crime.
Meanwhile Rauner unveiled portions of his plan to overhaul the state's criminal justice system Wednesday, which is intended to reduce the Illinois prison population 25 percent by 2025. The plans have bipartisan support, despite the governor and state Democrats being unable to reach a deal on the state budget.
One proposal the governor supports, would direct a judge to detail why a person without a prior criminal record must be incarcerated and require a pre-sentencing report. An additional measure would increase the use of electronic monitoring as an alternative to prison while a third would give offenders just out of prison access to an alternate state identification so they can take advantage of various programs and services.