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2016: Our Year in Review

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The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority took great strides in its mission of improving the administration of criminal justice in 2016. Here is a look back at the agency’s most notable initiatives and achievements for the year.

National Criminal Justice Reform Project Selection

With ICJIA and Governor’s Office leadership, Illinois was selected by the National Criminal Justice Association Center for Justice Planning and the National Governors Association in 2016 for participation in the National Criminal Justice Reform Project (NCJRP).

Illinois was one of just three states chosen for participation from more than 20 applicants across the country.

The NCJRP offers technical assistance to states in the planning and implementation of data-driven, evidence-based practices in the areas of pretrial reform; re-entry and offender recidivism; mental health and substance abuse; reducing incarceration; and information sharing.

This partnership will be invaluable as Illinois works to fully integrate evidence-based practices that ensure a fair and cost-effective criminal justice system and improve public safety. The process will enable the Illinois Executive Branch to address priorities, enhance decision-making, and achieve system-wide improvements in areas where governors can drive change.

Targeted Violence Prevention

Initiated in 2016, ICJIA’s Targeted Violence Prevention Program takes a public health approach to preventing ideologically inspired targeted violence. The program offers communities resources to prevent individuals from being recruited to commit ideologically inspired targeted violence and help off-ramp individuals who are at risk for committing ideologically inspired targeted violence.

The Targeted Violence Prevention Program offers technical assistance and expertise to communities to address the current lack of knowledge and expertise at the community level on how to address and prevent ideologically inspired targeted violence. The program provides access to a network of national and international experts and practitioners and explores ways to bring new resources to Illinois.

Funding Initiative: Partnerships to Reduce Violent Crime

ICJIA set out to build community partnerships that reduce violent crime across Illinois in 2016. Municipalities within Champaign, Kane, Kankakee, Lake, Macon, Peoria, Sangamon, St. Clair, Vermlion, Will, and Winnebago counties were eligible to apply for funds to strengthen the relationship between law enforcement and their communities. The partnership grant requires communities to complete the SARA problem-solving model, build local research and evaluation capacity, and implement procedural justice and focused deterrence, a policing strategy that targets gun offenders. Eligible counties were selected through an analysis of violent crime in Illinois that identified counties with a mid-sized urban center and high crime rates.

Grants were awarded to the City of Champaign for a program serving Champaign and Urbana ($127,028), the City of Peoria ($198,718), the Rockford Metropolitan Agency for Planning ($155,894), and the Springfield Police Department ($91,387).

Victim Services Planning

ICJIA initiated research, planning, and hiring to administer nearly $165 million in federal victim services funding over the next four years.

In 2015, Congress raised the cap on Victim of Crime Act (VOCA) funding limits. As a result, the Office of Justice Programs increased Illinois’ VOCA award more than 400 percent to $78 million dollars for federal fiscal year 2015 and $87 million for FFY16. Per federal rule, ICJIA must administer these funds within three federal fiscal years.

The increase in VOCA funding presents a critical opportunity for ICJIA to work with stakeholders across the state not only to expand services currently provided to victims of crime, but also to identify and address unmet needs. ICJIA hired a victimologist this year to lead ICJIA’s newly created Center for Victim Studies, charged with examining the nature and scope of victimization in Illinois and evaluating programs that address victim needs.

ICJIA also procured technical assistance to conduct a robust needs assessment documenting the types of victimization experienced statewide and associated victim service responses and contracted with a technology firm to rewrite InfoNet’s application code.

The Ad Hoc Victim Services Committee meets January 10 and 11 to define priorities for the use of S.T.O.P. Violence Against Women Act and VOCA funds. The criminal justice and victim services professionals and victim advocates who comprise the committee review crime and victimization trend data, information on current efforts, and data from funded programs to make recommendations to ICJIA’s board on how to set the funding priorities for these grant programs.

2016 Research Forum

In May, ICJIA hosted its first Research Forum, “Trauma & Posttraumatic Stress in Criminal Justice Populations.” Presented in collaboration with Adler University and Loyola University Chicago, the forum brought together researchers, practitioners, and policymakers to discuss trauma and posttraumatic stress in criminal justice populations. The latest research; policy implications; and innovative, evidence-based practices were discussed.

Continued Growth for Adult Redeploy Illinois

ICJIA continued to focus on maximizing resources that lead to positive program outcomes.

The Adult Redeploy Illinois (ARI) site network grew to include 38 locally designed and controlled prison diversion programs at 19 sites covering 39 counties in 2016.

ARI is a successful state funding program designed to build and support more effective and less expensive community alternatives to incarceration for non-violent offenders. The state saves money through the reduced use of incarceration in state facilities; a portion of the savings are invested locally to support stronger, healthier communities.

Since inception in 2011, ARI has distributed more than $20 million in grants to local jurisdictions to support problem-solving courts, enhanced probation supervision with services, and other evidence-based interventions responsive to the needs of their communities. The per-capita cost of incarceration is approximately $23,400 per year while the average ARI intervention costs about $4,400. In total, the program’s statewide network has diverted nearly 2,800 non-violent offenders from Illinois prisons.

Data-Driven Health and Justice Initiative Leadership

ICJIA and the Illinois Health and Hospital Association hosted a December conference on data-driven health and justice, a nationwide effort to reduce the financial and human costs associated with incarcerating people in local jails who have complex needs but do not pose a risk to public safety.

The event highlighted innovations state and local governments are using to address the harmful over-reliance on incarceration for people in the deep ends of the justice and health systems due to unaddressed mental illness and substance abuse disorders. Jailing those with serious mental illness and other chronic medical problems is costly and ineffective.

Using cross-system data, improved technology, and collaborative strategies, state and local decision makers can achieve better outcomes and save taxpayer dollars by identifying and predicting at-risk individuals who cycle in and out of health and criminal justice systems because they do not have long-term coordinated care plans.

Champaign, Cook, Lake, and McLean counties have partnered with Illinois in the initiative.

Swift Certain Fair Training

Last spring, ICJIA hosted members of state and local community corrections, law enforcement, court systems, and service provider agencies for a training event on implementing Swift Certain Fair (SCF) sanctions for re-offending to reduce recidivism in the community and increase safety in correctional facilities. Training was provided by the Swift Certain Fair Resource Center.

Courts, community corrections, and law enforcement agencies across the country have used SCF guiding supervision principles to reduce re-offending; arrest; incarceration; and jail and prison violence. Moving from traditional supervision to an SCF approach may entail shifts in policy and practice, such as regular random drug testing, immediate arrests, non-custodial sanctions, and incentives for positive behavior.

Stay Tuned

Stay in touch in 2017! Follow ICJIA on Facebook and Twitter @icjia_illinois, and subscribe to our email list to get the latest Authority research, grant opportunities, and other news delivered to your inbox.

Cristin Evans

Cristin Evans first joined the Authority as a technical editor in 1998. As the agency’s public information officer, Cristin coordinates communication between the Authority and criminal justice practitioners, policymakers, and members of the public. Prior to joining the Authority, Cristin was a journalist with the Downers Grove Reporter and the Daily Herald. She is a member of the Riverside School District 96 Wellness Committee and Riverside Junior Women’s Charity. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Columbia College Chicago.