Honorees at TASC 2018 Leadership Awards Luncheon: This is Just the Beginning

(Chicago) –  TASC’s 2018 Leadership Award recipients—action-driven change agents forging new pathways within their professions—humbly echoed similar themes as they accepted their awards at the agency’s annual luncheon in Chicago on December 12: Thank you, but this is just the beginning. There is much work to be done.

Bringing 250-plus guests to their feet at the Westin Michigan Avenue after their remarks, Dixon City Manager and former Police Chief Danny Langloss, Mundelein Police Chief Eric Guenther, and Chicago Beyond Leader in Residence Dr. Nneka Tapia each offered inspiring perspectives on bringing about a healthier, more just society.

Justice Leadership Awards

“Addiction and mental illness are two of the most critical issues facing every community,” said Langloss, who initiated the Safe Passage law enforcement deflection program in Dixon and Lee counties.

Pointing out that 50,000 people in the US lost their lives to overdose in 2016, and 72,000 more died in 2017, he urged, “This is unacceptable. This is a public health epidemic that we cannot arrest our way out of. Behind every death, there is a family. There is a son or a daughter. There is a husband or a wife. There is a mom or a dad. And I’ll tell you—if you’ve never done a death notification, where you go out and tell somebody for the first time that their loved one has died—it is something you’d never want to do. I’ve done this more than 50 times. This is being done across our country 72,000 times a year. It has to change.”

In presenting TASC’s Justice Leadership Awards, TASC President Pam Rodriguez praised Langloss and Guenther for taking action to stop cycles of addiction, arrest, and incarceration. “They didn’t close their eyes to the realities in front of them. Nor did they fall back on traditional law enforcement responses to drug use. Instead, they pioneered new pathways to recovery. A better way. Rather than arresting people who have overdosed or have a drug problem, they are deflecting people to treatment.”

“Substance use disorder grabs people,” said Langloss. “This is a chronic, relapsing disease. The pathway to recovery is a process; it is not an event… As we reshape this war on drugs—this failed war on drugs—we have to take a community-based approach,” he said, invoking the need for public health officials, doctors, police, faith-based partners, and people in recovery to collaborate in deflection initiatives. “This is a smart-on-crime approach. This is one of the greatest, proactive crime-fighting opportunities that we have.”

Justice Award honoree Guenther, who co-created Lake County’s A Way Out program and is an instrumental partner in the Lake County Opioid Initiative, also lauded the value of deflection. “This is actually a smart approach to crime reduction. If we can identify portions of our population that chronically commit crimes that are associated with a number of behavioral health issues—and work at helping them with those behavioral health issues—then we are actually addressing the root cause and the true origin of crime.”

Over 23 years in law enforcement, Guenther noted that in interviewing hundreds of candidates, the response to ‘Why do you want to be a police officer?’ is invariably a version of, ‘Because I want to help people.’

“Deflection makes sense for a number of reasons,” Guenther continued. “Decreasing crime, incarceration, and recidivism rates, saving taxpayer dollars, lessening the burden on the criminal justice system. But probably most important, it reinforces for thousands of us why we said we wanted to be police officers: because we wanted to help people. Not some people. All people.”

He implored attendees to hold public officials accountable for looking at their professions and figuring out better ways to be successful. “Is that not my job?” he asked. “Reform to me is an opportunity for me to change my profession and to give back to the people that I swore I would help.”

Together with TASC, Chiefs Guenther and Langloss spearheaded Senate Bill 3023, which authorizes and encourages the implementation of pre-arrest diversion programs across Illinois. The first bill of its kind in the country, it was signed into law in August.

Public Voice Leadership Award

“When it comes to understanding the impact of addiction and trauma on families, and the need for comprehensive responses, few people have the depth of understanding and compassion that our Public Voice Leadership honoree has,” Rodriguez said in introducing TASC’s 2018 Public Voice Leadership Award. “Dr. Nneka Jones Tapia is a true role model when it comes to cross-systems collaboration.”

As executive director at the Cook County Department of Corrections, Tapia and her team were critical partners in bringing the Supportive Release Center into being. Her singular expertise as both a psychologist and corrections executive has made her a recognized and passionate advocate for mental wellness, criminal justice reform, and interventions for youth. Today she is working with Chicago Beyond to advance trauma-informed care for young people impacted by violence and parental incarceration, in order to help them achieve their full potential.

“When I first learned that I was receiving the Public Voice Leadership Award, I started to think about the thousands of Chicago voices that are muted, the thousands of Chicago voices that we don’t allow ourselves to hear,” offered Tapia as she accepted her award. “These are the mothers and the fathers and the sons and daughters that end up in our criminal justice system, that end up in our emergency rooms, and that end up on a 911 call. And then I started to think, what would it look like—what would Chicago look like—if we heard those voices before they ended up in our criminal justice system, before they ended up in our emergency rooms, and before they ended up on our 911 calls? Can you imagine what Chicago would look like? Our emergency rooms would be less crowded, our jails would have more beds than people, our kids would be able to play without having to hear gunshots. That’s the world that we look forward to.”

During Tapia’s tenure at the Cook County Jail, she was instrumental in creating programs that supported pathways to health in the community and reduced recidivism. “At one point in my career, Cook County Jail had 10,000 inmates. When I left, we had less than 6,000,” she said. Now as a leader in residence at Chicago Beyond, “and with the support of wonderful organizations like TASC and so many others, we can bring this cycle of incarceration to an end,” Tapia said. “When our youth are healed, our community will be healed. But until that happens, it is our collective responsibility to raise our voice.”

Special Announcements and Acknowledgments

The formal luncheon program concluded with the surprise announcement of a major gift from 2016 Public Voice honoree John Greene and his wife, Jean Greene. Moved by TASC’s work and by their affection for Peter Palanca, who retired in 2017 as TASC’s executive vice president and COO, they were on hand to hear Rodriguez make the announcement:  “I am thrilled and grateful to announce the creation of the Peter Palanca Endowment Fund at TASC.”

Thanking TASC’s supporters, partners, board members, and staff, Rodriguez also welcomed four past TASC Leadership Award Recipients in attendance: TASC founder Melody Heaps (2010), retired WGN news anchor Robert Jordan (2013), State Senator Mattie Hunter (2014); and Greene. In addition to Hunter, other elected officials at the luncheon included State Senator Melinda Bush, State Rep. LaShawn Ford, and Lake County State’s Attorney Michael Nerheim.

TASC Board Chair Michelle Montgomery opened the program with gratitude for TASC’s supporters, including the event’s elite sponsor, Alkermes; select sponsors Gateway Foundation and William Blair; and Friend of TASC sponsors First Midwest Bank, Healthcare Alternative Systems, Inc., Indivior, Inc., Janssen Neuroscience, and Rosecrance. She also thanked John Zielinski, chair of TASC’s event committee and vice chair of TASC’s board of directors, along with event committee members Glenn Blackmon, Robin Fandrei, DeAnna Jones, and Tracy Thompson.

Emphasizing the importance of TASC’s mission, she said, “Incarceration affects not just the individual, but it severely disrupts whole families and multiple generations, devastating entire communities. As I speak, we are seeing this both in Illinois and across the nation. That’s why I believe so strongly in TASC’s work in disrupting these cycles.

2018 TASC Leadership Awards Luncheon (l. to r.): Dr. Nneka Tapia, Public Voice Award honoree; Pam Rodriguez, TASC president; Chief Eric Guenther, Justice Award honoree; Danny Langloss, Justice Award honoree. Photo by Uk Studio, Inc.

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Health and Justice Reforms on the Ballot: 2018 Midterm Election Results

(Chicago) – Several criminal justice initiatives advanced during the 2018 midterm elections, marking notable progress in justice reform.

In Florida, for example, voters approved Amendment 4, which restores voting rights to people—1.4 million—who have completed serving the terms of their sentences, including probation and parole, for most felony offenses. Florida voters also approved Amendment 11, which allows the state’s legislature to enact sentencing reforms that apply retroactively.

In Colorado, voters approved a ballot measure which removes language from the state Constitution that allows slavery and involuntary servitude to be used as punishment for crime. And in Louisiana, voters approved a constitutional change requiring unanimous juries for all felony convictions, which means that Oregon will soon be the only remaining state that allows juries that aren’t unanimous to send people to prison.

Medicaid expansion was also on the ballot in multiple states. Voters in Idaho, Utah, and Nebraska supported measures to expand Medicaid, meaning 36 states, plus the District of Columbia, have now adopted Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

Several groups have published overviews of justice- and health-related results from the elections:

While the advancement of these justice reform initiatives is encouraging, there is more to be done.

“We are still far from the finish line in achieving comprehensive justice reform, but these are promising advances,” said TASC President Pam Rodriguez.

For example, a recent investigative report critiques for-profit diversion programs in Illinois. Diversion programs are intended to divert eligible individuals who would have otherwise been arrested, charged, or incarcerated, away from the justice system and into appropriate community-based mental health or substance use treatment. However, without careful oversight, safeguards, and appropriate parameters, programs can have negative consequences.

“When programs with the stated purpose of diverting people away from the system actually draw more people into it, that’s ‘net widening,’” said Rodriguez. “This can occur, for instance, when people whose cases would have eventually been dropped are instead placed under community supervision as part of a ‘diversion’ program. But they may be charged large and unwarranted participation fees, and when they predictably fail to pay, they may be sent to jail or prison as a penalty. Obviously, scenarios like this run absolutely counter to the purpose of diversion programs.”

In a recent opinion piece, author and columnist Michelle Alexander also urged caution, writing that many current justice reforms “contain the seeds of the next generation of racial and social control,” including an increasing reliance on electronic monitoring.

“We must be thoughtful and purposeful in our reform efforts, and vigilant in guarding against unintended consequences and addressing entrenched disparities,” said Rodriguez. “Voter support for justice reforms and Medicaid expansion should serve as a catalyst in the continued pursuit of healthier and more just communities.”

TASC President Pam Rodriguez Selected to Pritzker Committee for Restorative Justice and Safe Communities

(Chicago) — TASC President Pam Rodriguez has been named to Governor-elect JB Pritzker’s Restorative Justice and Safe Communities Committee, which will advise the incoming administration on criminal justice reform and public safety.

Pritzker announced the formation of the committee at a press conference at the Safer Foundation on November 30.

The committee is the eighth of several working groups of the transition made up of subject-matter experts who will advise and guide the incoming Pritzker-Stratton administration. The Restorative Justice and Safe Communities Committee will be chaired by Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, State Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth, and Congresswoman Robin Kelly and consist of 42 members.

“If we’re committed to economic justice, let’s be committed to criminal justice reform and public safety,” said Pritzker. “These problems are not separate from each other. They’re intertwined with each other. It’s time to bring real prosperity to every community, tear down the barriers that block people from opportunity, and move away from a system of imprisonment and build a true system of justice.”

“A core promise of our campaign was the creation of the Office of Criminal Justice Reform and Economic Opportunity,” said Lieutenant Governor-elect Juliana Stratton, envisioning a system of justice that diverts youth and adults from incarceration, modernizes sentencing, encourages rehabilitation, and works to reduce gun violence and create economic opportunity. “I know we can achieve meaningful, lasting progress and opportunity and justice that we all believe in – but only if we act together,” she said.

“The state of Illinois needs to reimagine our criminal justice system,” said Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx. “This committee will work to challenge and transform the ways our state deals with systemic issues that leave communities of color behind. I look forward to JB and Juliana’s leadership statewide to address gun violence and a more holistic approach to public safety.”

“It’s no secret that Illinois’ criminal justice system has failed communities across our state, and it’s time to fix it,” said State Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth. “We can start by making our state agencies more accountable to the people they serve, and we can build collaboration across agencies to bring interconnected services into communities that need them most.”

“Governor-elect Pritzker and Lieutenant Governor-elect Stratton are ready to reinvent our criminal justice system so every Illinoisan has a chance to reach their full potential,” said Congresswoman Robin Kelly. “They recognize that gun violence is a public health epidemic and have real prevention and intervention plans that will keep our communities safe.”

“I am honored to be part of this transition committee,” said TASC’s Rodriguez. “Working with Governor-elect Pritzker’s administration, the committee co-chairs, and colleagues from across the state, I look forward to helping to advance a criminal justice reform agenda for Illinois.”

RESTORATIVE JUSTICE AND SAFE COMMUNITIES COMMITTEE MEMBERS

Co-Chair – Kim Foxx, Cook County State’s Attorney

Co-Chair – Jehan Gordon-Booth, State Representative, Illinois General Assembly

Co-Chair – Robin Kelly, U.S. Congresswoman for Illinois’ 2nd District

Phillip Andrew, Director of Violence Prevention, Archdiocese of Chicago

Brian Asbell, Sheriff, Peoria County

Charles Bachtell, CEO and Co-Founder, Cresco Labs

Kathy Bankhead, Ombudsperson, Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice

Deanne Benos, Co-Founder, Women’s Justice Institute

Walter Burnett, Alderman, City of Chicago

Annalise Buth, M.R. Bauer Foundation Fellow, Center on Negotiation and Mediation at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law

Kelly Cassidy, State Representative, Illinois General Assembly

Kahalah Clay, Circuit Clerk, St. Clair County

Colleen Daley, Executive Director, Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence

Victor B. Dickson, President and CEO, Safer Foundation

Arne Duncan, Managing Partner, Emerson Collective

Michael Frerichs, Treasurer, State of Illinois

Dr. Nneka Jones Tapia, Leader in Residence, Chicago Beyond

Brendan Kelly, State’s Attorney, St. Clair County

Edith Crigler, Member, Illinois Prisoner Review Board

Era Laudermilk, Deputy of Policy and Strategic Planning, Cook County Public Defender’s Office

Chris Lindsey, J.D., Executive Director, Marijuana Policy Project

Jens Ludwig, Director of the University of Chicago’s Crime Lab, University of Chicago

Tony Munoz, State Senator, Illinois General Assembly

Cliff Nellis, Executive Director, Lawndale Christian Legal Center

Mike Newman, Deputy Director, AFSCME

Katya Nuques, Executive Director, Enlace Chicago

Cheryl Parks, Executive Director, Job Partnerships Peoria

Quinn Rallins, Program Director, Illinois Justice Project

Julia Rietz, State’s Attorney, Champaign County

Elizabeth Robb, Retired Chief Judge, 11th Judicial Circuit

Pamela F. Rodriguez, President and CEO, Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities

Selwyn Rogers, Director, University of Chicago Medicine’s Trauma Center

Kathleen Sances, Executive Director, Gun Violence Prevention PAC

Sean Smoot, Director, Police Benevolent and Protective Association of Illinois

Jason Stamps, Acting Director, Center for Public Safety and Justice at UIC

Joseph Strickland, Associate Director & Senior Researcher, Jane Addams School of Social Work at UIC

Carmen Terrones, Consultant, David Lynch Foundation

Jennifer Vollen-Katz, Executive Director, John Howard Association

Julie Wilen, Executive Director, Pritzker Foundation

Diane Williams, President Emeritus, Safer Foundation

Kathleen Willis, State Representative, Illinois General Assembly

Paula Wolff, Director, Illinois Justice Project

IL Governor-elect JB Pritzker (podium) announces the formation of the transition’s Restorative Justice and Safe Communities Committee. Left to right: State Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth, Lieutenant Governor-elect Juliana Stratton, Governor-elect Pritzker, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx. Photo courtesy JB Pritzker Transition Team.

Poll: 69% Back Illinois Law Pushing Drug Treatment over Arrest

(Grayslake, IL) – A new bipartisan law that authorizes local police departments and community partners to develop local strategies to fight the Illinois opioid crisis has the overwhelming backing of Illinois voters, according to a recent poll.

On August 22, 2018, Governor Rauner signed legislation, Senate Bill 3023, that encourages local law enforcement to “deflect” from criminal arrest individuals who have overdosed or who have substance use problems, directing them instead into addiction treatment.

Voters like it.

An October 29-30, 2018, statewide poll of likely Illinois voters by Illinois Public Opinion, Inc. found that 69.03% supported the measure approved by Rauner while only 14.84% opposed it. And 16.13% were undecided.

The leader of one of the state’s top criminal justice advocacy groups, which spearheaded the passage of the law, said that the poll showed that Illinois voters “embrace” a new approach to criminal justice when it comes to addressing the heroin and opioid epidemic.

“Traditionally, local police have had two choices when faced with someone who they believe may have a substance use disorder–to arrest or to not arrest, and now voters enthusiastically embrace the third choice encouraged by the new law, a drug treatment option,” said Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities (TASC) President Pam Rodriguez. “With the opioid crisis raging across the state, the new deflection law provides the third option, to connect people with community-based substance use treatment services that address their underlying substance use problems, an approach strongly endorsed by Illinois public opinion.”

The number of Illinois overdose deaths from all opioids nearly doubled between 2013 and 2017, from 1,072 to 2,110.

The “Community-Law Enforcement Partnership for Deflection and Substance Use Disorder Treatment Act,” which was sponsored in the Senate by State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) and State Senator Tim Bivins (R-Dixon) and in the House by State Rep. Marcus Evans (D-Chicago) and State Rep. Tom Demmer (R-Dixon), creates guidelines to develop partnerships between law enforcement, substance use treatment providers, and community members.

The bill is also an initiative of the Village of Mundelein’s police chief, Eric Guenther, and the City of Dixon’s former police chief and current city manager, Danny Langloss, whose communities have pioneered deflection programs.

“These poll results reveal that common sense criminal justice reform will be rewarded by public support,” said Rodriguez. “The new legislature and the new governor, J.B. Pritzker, should be encouraged by public opinion and continue forward on a criminal justice reform path.”

The automated survey, which contacted 497 likely voters by both landlines and cellphones, had a +/- 4.4% margin of error.

The law goes into force on January 1, 2019.

Youth, Parents, and Program Partners Celebrate Juvenile Justice Collaborative

(Chicago) – Youth who have completed services offered through the Lurie Children’s Juvenile Justice Collaborative (JJC) were lauded by parents and program partners at the JJC’s inaugural achievement celebration at TASC on November 16.

Launched in 2017 by the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, the JJC is a partnership between Lurie Children’s Strengthening Chicago’s Youth (SCY), the Cook County Juvenile Probation and Court Services Department, Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities (TASC), Illinois Collaboration on Youth (ICOY), and ten community-based service providers.

Alicia Osborne, director of operations for TASC, welcomed parents, program partners, and staff to the event, held at TASC’s Clinton Street location in Chicago. Addressing youth participants directly, she said, “To the honorees in the room… you matter, greatly, to all of us. Never, ever stop believing in yourself.”

The JJC helps young people steer their lives in a positive direction after they have been arrested for offenses such as getting in a fight at school, possessing drugs, or partaking in a theft. Through this multi-agency initiative, youth aged 12 to 18 have the opportunity to participate in comprehensive programs and services rather than be detained in the juvenile justice system. Through engagement in these programs, they learn skills such as managing emotions, developing healthy relationships, and discovering new skills and activities.

Rebecca Levin, executive director of SCY, praised participants for their achievements. “A doctor once told me, ‘People will either live up to your expectations, or people will live down to your expectations,’” she said. Recognizing the successes of the program graduates, she added, “You are proving that our expectations of you were right.”

Individuals are referred to the program by probation officers, and TASC care coordinators work with youth and their families to determine which services will be best for them, partnering with a network of organizations to offer free, individualized services and care.

“The stories that make the headlines aren’t the stories that represent the amazing things happening in this process,” said Avik Das, director of the Cook County Juvenile Probation and Court Services Department, to the program graduates. “We need to celebrate that and be champions of that. Your success keeps us going.”

“The hard work really came from you,” added Bill Pieroth, deputy chief probation officer for the Cook County Juvenile Probation and Court Services Department. “Thank you for your efforts and perseverance and staying with the program. We hope you can be role models for young people coming after you.”

A comprehensive array of partners has collaborated to support youth in their success. Along with the convening partners, JJC’s network of service providers includes Aunt Martha’s Youth Service Center, BUILD, Inc., Heartland Human Care Services, Lawrence Hall, Maryville Academy, New Life Centers of Chicagoland, SGA Youth & Family Services, UCAN, Youth Guidance, and Youth Outreach Services.

Celebrating achievements of Juvenile Justice Collaborative (JJC) participants (l. to r.): Avik Das, Cook County Juvenile Probation and Court Services Department; Alicia Osborne, TASC; Rebecca Levin, Strengthening Chicago’s Youth (SCY), Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago; Anthony Harden, TASC; Bill Pieroth, Cook County Juvenile Probation and Court Services Department.

Charlier Named Head of TASC’s Center for Health and Justice

(Chicago) Jac Charlier has been named executive director of the Center for Health and Justice at TASC (Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities).

The Center (CHJ) helps justice and healthcare systems reduce crime and improve community health by diverting eligible people who have substance use and mental health conditions into community-based treatment and recovery.

As drug overdose deaths across the country have skyrocketed, Charlier is a leading voice in the emerging national movement toward pre-arrest diversion or “deflection” as standard practice, whereby law enforcement officers will, whenever appropriate, deflect people with behavioral health issues to treatment in the community.

TASC has a 40-year history of providing alternatives to incarceration and connecting justice systems to substance use and mental health treatment in the community. CHJ was established by TASC in 2006, bringing forth lessons from research and TASC’s direct experience accessing treatment and annually case managing thousands of individuals involved in Illinois courts and corrections systems.

Providing consultation and public policy solutions at local, state, federal, and international levels, some of the Center’s recent accomplishments include:

Based on the scope and success of Center’s work under Charlier’s leadership, who joined TASC in 2011, he becomes CHJ’s first full-time executive director.

“Nationally and locally, Jac has catapulted the conversation of deflection as a first response,” said TASC President Pam Rodriguez. “His experience in community corrections, his understanding of the importance of local solutions to solve local problems, and his ability to see the big picture as well as commonalities among jurisdictions, all have enabled him to successfully build coalitions that work toward common goals.”

Jac Charlier, Executive Director, TASC Center for Health and Justice

In 2017, Charlier co-founded the national Police, Treatment and Community Collaborative (PTACC), where he has led the development of frameworks for preventing and reducing opioid overdose and death among justice populations, as well as community-based post-overdose response strategies for law enforcement.

“Working in partnership with prominent leaders in justice, research, community, and treatment, TASC’s Center for Health and Justice continues to be relentlessly focused on creating the next generation of crime reduction solutions that lie at the intersection of the criminal justice and behavioral health,” said Charlier. “This means connecting people to treatment, understanding the research and science, staying close to the community, recognizing and addressing racial disparities, and always remembering the urgency and purpose of our work, especially for those who have been victims of crime.”

Prior to joining TASC, Charlier worked for 16 years with the Parole Division of the Illinois Department of Corrections, beginning as a street parole officer, and rising to deputy chief of parole, where he led system-wide parole operations for the Chicago metropolitan area.

TASC 2018 Luncheon to Honor Leaders in Justice System Diversion

(Chicago) — TASC’s 2018 Leadership Awards Luncheon will recognize experts who are forging new solutions in stopping cycles of justice system involvement before they begin.

Former Cook County Jail Executive Director Dr. Nneka Tapia, Mundelein Police Chief Eric Guenther, and Dixon City Manager and former Police Chief Danny Langloss each will receive awards for their public health-informed approaches to criminal justice.

Dr. Nneka Tapia, TASC 2018 Public Voice Leadership Award Honoree

TASC’s Public Voice Leadership Award will be presented to Dr. Tapia, whose singular expertise as both a psychologist and corrections executive has made her a recognized and passionate advocate for mental wellness, criminal justice reform, and interventions for youth. In her eleven years of service and leadership within the Cook County Jail, including three as executive director, she advanced groundbreaking strategies to promote health and reduce recidivism, including the Cook County Mental Health Transition Center and TASC’s Supportive Release Center. These innovations help jail detainees who are experiencing poverty, substance use disorders, and mental health conditions to transition successfully to services and well-being in the community. Earlier this year, Dr. Tapia became the inaugural Leader in Residence at Chicago Beyond, with a focus on young people exposed to trauma and those whose parents have been incarcerated.

Danny Langloss, TASC 2018 Justice Leadership Award Honoree

TASC’s Justice Leadership Award will be presented to Guenther and Langloss, who have been pivotal in reshaping how law enforcement officers respond when they encounter individuals who have overdosed or have substance use problems. Instead of arresting people or ignoring the situation, officers can offer deflection to treatment programs. In Dixon and Lee counties, Langloss launched the Safe Passage program, whereby those addicted to opioids and other drugs can walk into the police department and get connected to the help they need in the community.

Eric Guenther, TASC 2018 Justice Leadership Award Honoree

Likewise in Lake County, Chief Guenther co-created the A Way Out program and is an instrumental partner in the Lake County Opioid Initiative, which similarly offer avenues to treatment without fear of arrest. Together with TASC in 2018, Guenther and Langloss spearheaded the recently signed Senate Bill 3023, which authorizes and encourages the implementation of such programs across Illinois. Through their expertise, compassion, and leadership, Guenther and Langloss are advancing standard law enforcement practices for fighting addiction.

“Together, our three honorees represent part of a national movement toward recognizing that the justice system should not be the first place where people get help for substance use or mental health challenges,” said TASC President Pam Rodriguez. “Individuals can be diverted into treatment before arrest, and for those who are arrested, reentry with connections to care is essential.

“We are excited to recognize leaders whose initiatives are not only preventing and breaking cycles of incarceration here in Illinois, but whose successes are having an impact across the country,” she added.

TASC’s 2018 Leadership Awards Luncheon will take place at the Westin Michigan Avenue Chicago on Wednesday, December 12 from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM. Registration is requested by November 28. To reserve tickets, please click here.

For sponsorship opportunities or more information, please contact Nitza Reyes-Rodriguez at 312-573-8201.