Addressing Community Violence
Addressing street-level violence such as murders and aggravated assaults and batteries that occur on the public way and often involve firearms requires a multi-pronged approach. One effective model for addressing street violence, and, in particular, gang related or group-involved street violence, is the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s Comprehensive Gang Prevention, Intervention, and Suppression Model.
At the close of the Adult Redeploy Illinois (ARI) 2017 All Sites Summit, a policy conversation was convened to present perspectives on the state of the Illinois criminal justice system, the public’s rapidly changing opinion on prisoner rehabilitation, and the effect of the current political climate on reform efforts. Moderated by Brian Mackey of NPR Illinois, the panel was comprised of retired Judge Elizabeth Robb, State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato of Winnebago County, and college student and ARI graduate Tonya Veenstra.
Veenstra, a graduate and outspoken supporter of ARI’s diversion programs, spoke to the harsh realities of substance abuse treatment in prisons. She stated, “I was a part of mass incarceration and was part of treatment services in jail… and I can tell you that it does not work. Our prisons are all overcrowded and 83% are suffering from substance abuse and 17% receive treatment.” When these untreated inmates leave prisons and attempt to reintegrate into society, there is a high likelihood of recidivism.
ARI offered Veenstra the opportunity to break from the cycle of addiction and incarceration. The entire panel commended the ARI network’s success in diverting over 3,000 people from state prison and spoke to the importance of an increased budget to expand and implement ARI programming across the state.
Judge Elizabeth Robb (Ret.), a member of the Illinois Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform, cited the commission’s goal of funding vital programs like ARI to achieve Governor Rauner’s goal of decreasing Illinois’ prison population by 25% by 2025. Robb emphasized, “Do not just fund what sounds good, fund what works and demand that all those service agencies who receive funding from the state show that what they are using is evidence-based.”
This issue of smart investment of justice dollars is of particular importance in Illinois since state resources are scarce and budgeting is a political issue. Brian Mackey listed the hyper-politicization of justice issues on both the federal and state level, historical and present, as a key threat to criminal justice system reform but noted recent developments of bipartisan agreement. Mackey, a veteran reporter for NPR Illinois, stated, “It started in the House in the Criminal Justice Committee where people would start asking ‘What is your evidence?’ when they would want to ratchet up a penalty. In bumping a Class 3 to a Class 2, what is your evidence that that will make people any safer and improve justice outcomes?”
Public opinion has been shifting away from deterrence and retribution to rehabilitation over the last decade, and Brian Mackey referenced a recent survey of Illinois crime victims showing that a majority of victims support proposals to reform the criminal justice system and shift investments away from prisons. Policy-makers are beginning to acknowledge their constituents’ changing views and are willing to make strides toward real criminal justice reform.
“We’re all citizens,” Judge Robb explained. “We’re all in this world together. What is the price of a human life? We have all seen folks who have turned around and lives are changed. This may be naïve possibly, but I think many of us believe that there is no price on changing a life for the better.”
Summer Lunch & Learn
Bring your lunch and join us for a presentation: Sexual Assault & Survivor Help Seeking
Wednesday, August 2, 2017
11:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
300 West Adams Street
2nd Floor Building Conference Room
University of Illinois at Chicago Professor Sarah Ullman, Ph.D., will present her research on survivor help-seeking behaviors following sexual assault and support providers’ experiences providing help. The purpose of the talk is to discuss survivor disclosure of sexual assault and how support providers respond to disclosure, as well as the impact of disclosure on support providers.
Attendees will be encouraged to share their thoughts on how these research findings can inform victim service provision, including the role of support provided by friends, family, and significant others.
Space is limited. Register today >>
Can’t make it in person? Register to join us via WebEx >>
Hosted by the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority Center for Victim Studies
Questions? Contact Amanda Vasquez: Amanda.L.Vasquez@Illinois.gov
The Illinois’ FY18 State budget includes $8,000,000 for Community-Based Violence Intervention and Prevention (CBVIP) grants and administration. ICJIA anticipates that approximately $6,700,000 to $7,200,000 will be available under the CBVPI Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), with individual grants ranging from $100,000 to $1,000,000 to support programming for an initial 9-month period. The anticipated grant period is October 1, 2017, to June 30, 2018. The target population is youth and young adults, including, but not limited to, those who are identified as being at heightened risk or those who engage in high risk behavior or violence throughout Illinois.
ICJIA anticipates releasing the CBVIP NOFO between July 19 and July 26, and will be open to public and not-for-profit entities that provide community-based violence prevention and intervention services in the State of Illinois. Note that this NOFO is not open to Cure Violence/CeaseFire (University of Illinois at Chicago) and its sub-grantees for similar activities for the same population in light of a separate state FY18 appropriation for that purpose.
ICJIA encourages potential applicants to ensure they have completed the pre-qualification process through the Grant Accountability and Transparency Act (GATA) Grantee Portal, as only those agencies that have completed the process and received an approved ICQ from their State cognizant agency will be reviewed.
Please encourage others who are interested in receiving notices of funding opportunity announcements and other news announcements to subscribe to the CJ Dispatch.
Apply now for this exciting ICJIA opportunity!
Criminal Justice Specialist Trainee/Criminal Justice Specialist 1 with the Federal & State Grants Unit
The Institutional Review Board will meet on Friday, July 7, 2017 at 3:30 PM, at the offices of the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, 300 W. Adams Street, Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60606.
CHICAGO—June 29, 2017. Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority Executive Director John Maki today announced confirmation of a $187,877 grant award from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to support efforts of the Targeted Violence Prevention Program.