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May 19, 2008

Has Illinois figured out "smart on crime"?

Though perhaps this official press release from the desk of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich should be taken with a grain of salt, the reported news suggests that Illinois is doing strong work on the rentry front.  Here are snippets from the press release:

Joined by law enforcement officials, community leaders, faith-based leaders and state officials, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that statewide reforms have led to historic reductions in crimes by former offenders and significant savings for taxpayers.  An intensive effort launched by the Governor in fiscal year 2004 to provide incarcerated offenders and parolees with access to education, job training, substance abuse treatment and counseling has led to the lowest conviction rate among parolees in state history, a 23% reduction in arrests among the general parolee population, and a 40% reduction in repeat incarceration among parolees with substance abuse histories who graduated from the Sheridan Drug and Reentry Program. The drop in recidivism has saved the State an estimated $64 million in incarceration costs since 2004....

“Being tough on crime means being smart about fighting crime.  The reality is that offenders who are sent to prison are most likely going to be back in our communities sooner or later.  And when they return, if they don’t have the skills and support to lead clean and productive lives, they are most likely going to end up committing crimes again.  The vicious cycle of recidivism weakens communities, destroys families and puts a huge burden on the State’s finances.  That’s why back in 2004 we took launched an aggressive new approach to preparing offenders for reentry into their communities,” said Gov. Blagojevich.

May 19, 2008 at 07:04 PM | Permalink


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Excellent news. Should be sent to all state legislatures.

Posted by: Michael Levine | May 19, 2008 7:25:48 PM

It's great news.

Posted by: federalist | May 19, 2008 10:48:43 PM

I would be curious to know what how many pardons Governor Blagojevich has issued. Before anyone says it I am talking about non violent felons who have went years without committing further crimes.

Posted by: BS | May 20, 2008 7:20:05 AM

I just went to Pardon power and found my answer. It seems that Governor Blagojevich has a terrible pardon record that would rival Governor Easley of North Carolina. Way to serve the people of your state,can't wait until both of you are out of office.

Posted by: BS | May 20, 2008 7:25:52 AM

I noticed they had reduced their recidivism rate and was wondering what they had done. If fact when I saw the figures I thought they must be wrong and had to verify they were correct.

They are also working on complete revision of their criminal code. They had a conference about the proposed revision recently. Evidently their criminal code revision process is not getting much attention outside of Illinois. We are talking about a criminal code revision in Iowa and I hope the Illinois experience will turn out to be a good model.

Posted by: John Neff | May 20, 2008 9:26:50 AM

The results are truly stunning, so stunning that I too have a hard time believing that they are actually true. Definitely worth more attention.

Posted by: ohwilleke | May 20, 2008 2:38:07 PM

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