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.

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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.