Pubdate: Mon, 30 Oct 2006
Source: Daily Southtown (Tinley Park, IL)
Copyright: 2006 Daily Southtown
Author: Kim Janssen, Staff writer
Bookmark: (Drug Courts)
Bookmark: (Incarceration)


A skyrocketing prison population, spiraling drug crime and juvenile
crime rates come under fire in a major study of Chicago-area crime and
criminal justice published today.

Chicago Metropolis 2020, a business-backed think tank, warns most of
the 40,000 prisoners released in Illinois this year are "ill-equipped"
for life outside prison.

"More than half will likely end up back in prison within three years
if present trends continue," the group's 2006 Crime and Justice Index

A shortage of rehabilitation programs for inmates, the large distances
between downstate prisons and prisoners' Chicago-area roots and a
massive increase in parolees help account for the high reoffending
rate, the report said.

While reported crime in the state has fallen since the early 1990s,
the prison population has continued to grow steadily since the early
1970s, the report said.

And despite 70 percent of Americans believing the war on drugs is not
working, most of the increase in prison numbers is made up of
non-violent drug offenders, it said.

Changes in the criminal justice system backed as promising trends by
the study include drug courts, which sentence addicts to courses of
treatment rather than prison time; an increased emphasis on community
policing; restorative justice, under which juvenile criminals meet
with their victims in an attempt to repair the damage of their crimes;
and efforts to reduce parole officers' caseloads.
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