Blog: Smart Criminal Justice Policies Gain Momentum in Chicago, Cook County

County and City officials have taken bold yet prudent steps toward sensible, cost-effective public safety policies. The County has expanded use of electronic monitoring and the City is now considering issuing a fine in lieu of arrest for marijuana possession-a move many suburbs have already made. Both plans aim to relieve the mounting fiscal, political, and humanitarian costs imposed by… Read more →

Anonymity and Integrity in Researching Judicial Performance

Recently, Chicago Appleseed was asked about unsolicited anonymous comments about judicial retention candidates and whether they play a role in the data collection for the Judicial Performance Commission of Cook County’s (the JPC) evaluations. The integrity of our data is paramount and we strive to use only valid sources of feedback. Nonetheless, the most valuable commentary we can collect from… Read more →

Community-Involved Efforts Lead to Record CPS Attendance Level

Chicago Public Schools enjoyed a 94.7% attendance rate on the district’s first day of school. The turnout this Tuesday marks a four-year high, and a jump from 92.9% last year. CPS attributes the turnout largely to coordinated efforts among the schools, community organizations, and families. One of the main causes of poor first-day attendance is […] Read more about this… Read more →

CPS Principal Pay-for-Performance Plan Opens the Door for Community Schools

Merit pay is a notoriously tricky business. Reward short-term returns and you hang the future out to dry. Or, as we’ve seen in a growing number of school districts across the country, you run the risk of teachers and administrators taking shortcuts (ie, cheating) to grab the brass ring. Mayor Emmanuel has proposed an incentive […] Read more →

What We Read, August 12-19

Criminal Justice Court Reform: Even conservative states are adopting lighter sentencing policies in response to unsustainable prison costs, reports the New York Times. Matthew Iglesias questions the social, political, and economic rationale behind increasingly curtailing formerly incarcerated individuals’ right to work. To read our staff picks, please be sure to visit our blog. Do you have some interesting articles you’ve… Read more →

More incarceration does not equal less crime.

The ACLU posted a fascinating infographic this week. The above graphic compares the change incarceration rates and the change in crime rates from 1999 to 2009. Illinois’ prison population has skyrocketed since 1970, but has not grown considerably in the past decade, as illustrated by this chart produced by the John Howard Association, a Chicago-based prison watchdog organization. Over on… Read more →