(Chicago, IL) – Under a new proposal by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, the county could save on jail expenses by lowering the bail amounts for low-level, nonviolent defendants who are too poor to post bond. Instead of incarcerating these pretrial detainees at $143 per person per day, the county could place them on electronic monitoring, thus maintaining public safety while saving taxpayer dollars.
The jail is currently crowded with 9,400 men and women. About 900 current pre-trial detainees charged with low-level, nonviolent offenses would qualify for the reduced bail under President Preckwinkle’s proposal.
Pamela Rodriguez, president of TASC (Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities), and Diane Williams, president of the Safer Foundation, championed the proposed changes to the bond process in a letter to the editor published by the Chicago Tribune on July 17.
(Chicago, IL) — April 4, 2011. The Chicago Sun-Times yesterday published TASC President Pamela Rodriguez’s letter-to-the-editor highlighting and praising Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s focus on substance abuse treatment over jail for those struggling to recover from drug or alcohol addiction.
As a strategy to help close Cook County’s $487 million budget deficit while reducing crime, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle wisely highlighted in her inaugural address a prominent role for substance abuse treatment as a cost-saving alternative to housing nonviolent drug users at the Cook County Jail.
“Currently, Cook County’s chronically overcrowded criminal justice system is a drain on the county’s budget and a threat to our public safety. As Cook County Board president, I will expand resources for alternatives to incarceration for nonviolent offenders and provide treatment for addiction, educational classes and life skills training,” Preckwinkle said at her swearing-in ceremony.
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