More support is coming for alternative sentencing. The governor’s office has announced $7 million more for programs intended to rehabilitate non-violent offenders through Adult Redeploy Illinois, under the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority.

Mary Ann Dyar, Adult Redeploy Illinois’ program administrator, says people who would rather see the judges throw all the criminals in prison and throw away the key should consider that almost everyone knows someone who struggles with addiction. “If you were to look at the people who are getting caught up in the criminal justice system simply because their addiction is not addressed,” Dyar says, “It is easier to look at this program as a ‘smart on crime’ solution.”

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Dyar’s office gets grant money to local programs, such as one she cites in Macon County, where offenders submit to a “community restorative board,” where the offenders are paired with mentors. “What we’ve witnessed,” Dyar says, “is that the individuals in the circle – retired teachers, small business owners, pastors -- offer to help these individuals get jobs.  And that connection is what's going to make the difference.”

(Copyright WBGZ Radio /