CHICAGO — Criminal justice reform advocates released a report Tuesday showing prison sentences fell, while incidents of violent crime also dropped.
According to the newly released report, the concerted effort by the Cook County State’s Attorney's office to lower the number of incarcerations has not had a detrimental effect on public safety.
Advocates for criminal justice reform announced Tuesday morning, that their study of 2018 data from the office of State’s Attorney Kim Foxx found a 19% drop in incarcerations. That is more than 2300 fewer people behind bars.
Advocates call that a significant step in addressing racism in the criminal justice system. They say statistics support diverting young people from crime and the system, since over policing and mass incarcerations only make things worse.
But there is ongoing criticism of Foxx’s tenure as state’s attorney. Her handling of the Jussie Smollett case led to the dismissal of 16 felony counts, and now a special prosecutor will soon review the case and possibly reconsider charges against the actor.
Police union president Kevin Graham tells WGN the improved crime numbers should be attributed to a thousand more officers on the streets along with better training in diffusing situations.
The FOP expressed frustration over seeing offenders back out on the streets within days of an arrest.
Activists praised Foxx for giving prosecutors more discretion in deciding on felony charges or alternative prosecutions.