Grant to help Winnebago County offenders avoid prison

By Jim Hagerty
Staff Writer

The Winnebago County Circuit Court will receive a grant for more than $600,000 to help non-violent offenders avoid prison, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) announced Sunday, Dec. 29.

The grant for $646,775 is part of the $7 million Adult Redeploy Illinois program that will provide assistance to 31 counties and judicial districts. Under the system, eligible offenders may be sentenced to participate in community-based programs instead of going to prison.

“Community-based programs are more cost-effective and produce better results in rehabilitating non-violent offenders,” Quinn said. “Everyone benefits when we can help offenders turn their lives around and become productive members of society without filling up our prisons.”

Administered by the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA), Adult Redeploy has diverted more than 1,000 offenders from prison since 2011. Last year, participating counties spent an average of $4,400 per offender, compared to the annual per capita incarceration cost of $21,500 in 2011.

Those stats, Quinn’s office said, are the result of the governor’s commitment to reducing crime. While Quinn’s been in office, Illinois’ recidivism rate has dropped from 55 percent to 47 percent.

The 17th Judicial Circuit Court in Boone County will receive $150,000 as part of the Adult Redeploy grant.

Meanwhile, Quinn hopes to ride legislative accomplishments as he heads into the final months of his bid for reelection. Quinn, who is in his first full term, says landmark legislation such as concealed carry, same-sex marriage and pension reform speak loudly of his ability to continue leading the state into the future.

“To me, leadership is all about working as a team,” Quinn told the Associated Press. “I want to be a humble governor who is proud of our people. I inherited a huge mess. I don’t think there’s any governor in America that had to deal with the three crises I inherited [corruption scandals from two former governors, the economic recession and the state’s fiscal crisis]. Those were very monumental challenges that require leadership, not just somebody who talks all the time about themselves.”

Lieutenant governor under former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, Quinn became governor Jan. 29, 2009, when Blagojevich was impeached and voted out of office by the Illinois Senate.

From the Jan. 8-14, 2014, issue

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