Violence is one of the top three leading causes of death for individuals between the ages of 15 and 34 in the United States, and the American Public Health Association and Centers for Disease Control have designated violence a public health crisis. Important to combating this crisis are behavioral and public health professionals and practitioners who directly work to prevent violence. The present study sought to understand behavioral and public health providers’ competencies, capacities, comfort, confidence, and preparedness in violence prevention. Results from a survey of 152 respondents indicated there are areas for improving the education and training around violence prevention, as well as legal and ethical liabilities among practitioners. Further, few practitioners reported receiving client referrals from law enforcement agencies.
Social science research, rooted in the scientific method, is the foundation on which to advance knowledge and society. Part of research can include the participation of individuals, or “human subjects,” to help further the understanding of society and issues within society. International, federal, state, and local regulations ensure individuals are protected from harm while participating in research. The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority and other federally funded agencies and individuals adhere to these regulations. This article provides an overview of federal regulations for human subject research protections in social science.
Some individuals on probation who have opioid use disorders (OUDs) cannot access effective, FDA-approved medications-methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone-to treat their disorders. This article shared finding from a survey of 26 Illinois probation department directors on how probation departments respond to clients with OUDs, focusing on the barriers to accessing OUD medications. The article noted that a majority of probation department leaders perceived barriers for probation client access to OUD medications including lack of medical personnel experience, cost, need for guidance on medications, and regulations prohibiting medication use. The article highlighted a need for training, interagency collaboration, and policy changes to increase access to, education on, and use of, medications for probation clients. Such efforts may result in positive outcomes such as reduced recidivism, increased quality of life, and reduced mortality.
Despite the juvenile justice system’s shift from punitive to rehabilitative correctional approaches, post-commitment youth recidivism continues to be a significant issue. While the number of incarcerated juveniles in Illinois has consistently decreased over the years, the recidivism rate remains high. To better understand the extent of Illinois youth recidivism, researchers measured three-year rearrest and reincarceration rates among a sample of youth released from state juvenile correctional facilities. Over the three-year period post-release from the juvenile state correctional facilities, 87 percent of youth were rearrested, 55 percent were recommitted to a state juvenile correctional facility, and 54 percent were committed to an adult correctional facility. While Illinois has made efforts to reform juvenile justice in the state, recidivism remains high for those who are sentenced to a juvenile correctional facility. These rates likely reflect that youth committed to juvenile corrections generally have more complex needs and require more intensive, individualized, wrap-around programs and services to be successful in the community.
Nearly one-third of Illinois probationers suffer from an opioid use disorder (OUD). Despite evidence that FDA-approved medications methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone can effectively treat OUD, many probation departments do not allow their clients to use them, even when prescribed by a healthcare provider. ICJIA researchers surveyed probation departments across the state to better understand their familiarity with, and training on, the medications, as well as barriers to their clients’ access and use. This article summarizes the study’s findings.
This brief shares findings from a process evaluation of a program that treats women prisoners in Illinois with co-occurring disorders—substance use and mental health disorders. Overall, feedback from clients and staff were positive and the program showed reductions in clients’ posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms and aggression after participation. In addition, researchers offer suggestions to improve the program’s physical space, as well as enhance program components and data collection.
Even with substantial efforts at the state and local levels, opioid overdoses in Illinois continue to rise. Many in jails and prisons suffer from opioid use disorders and some receive treatment. Upon release, the risk of overdose is enhanced due to reduced tolerance. This article presents findings from a survey of 36 Illinois jail administrators on the use of medication-assisted treatment for detainees with opioid use disorders, naloxone distribution to reduce post-release overdose, and policies to ensure safe withdrawal from opioids and other drugs.
Monetary penalties, such as court costs, fees, and fines, are common sanctions levied by the criminal justice system. While these sanctions are used to offset court operations’ costs, the financial burden disproportionately impacts those from lower socioeconomic levels and minority communities. This article summarizes survey findings gleaned from a population of justice-involved individuals to gain insight into the impacts of court costs, fees, and fines on individuals and families in Illinois. Most respondents reported receiving no explanation of their financial obligations, made less than $15,000, and had to forgo basic needs to pay legal debts.
The criminal justice system features multiple independent agencies working parallel to each other. Criminal justice coordinating councils foster agency collaboration to better address county criminal justice issues. This article describes criminal justice coordinating councils and examines the limited research available on their implementation and effectiveness.
Gun violence continues to be a major criminal justice and public health issue. This article provides an overview of one strategy to reduce gun violence—focused deterrence. The strategy has been employed in many major U.S. cities, including in Illinois in Chicago, Peoria, and Rockford. Overall research on focused deterrence strategies has found statistically significant reductions in violent crime.
With increased attention on the criminal justice system’s use of evidence-based practices, focus is needed on the quality of practice implementation and its impact on outcomes. This article defines evidence-based practices, discusses the importance of effective implementation, and outlines the drivers for organizational and operational change.
Researchers conducted a process evaluation of Safe Passage, a police deflection model in which police departments become a referral point to treatment for individuals with substance use disorders. Through the model, individuals can walk into any participating police department and request and receive treatment without fear of arrest. In Illinois, Safe Passage has served 170 individuals in rural Lee and Whiteside counties since 2015. Researchers sought to understand how the initiative was developed and operated and gain perspectives of stakeholders, police officers, treatment providers, and clients involved in the program. While more research is needed, the initiative showed promise in its collaborative approach to connecting clients to treatment.
Research has found nearly all prisoners have experienced a traumatic event in their life and a high proportion suffer from PTSD. Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority and WestCare Foundation (Illinois) researchers surveyed 573 Illinois prisoners to understand the trauma they experienced and explore the relationship between trauma and substance misuse. Researchers found 89 percent of those surveyed had both experienced and witnessed more than one traumatic event during their lifetime. Almost one-fourth of the sample were identified as being symptomatic for PTSD (24 percent). In addition, researchers found a relationship found between greater PTSD symptoms and higher drug use. This article describes survey findings and provides implications for policy and practice in correctional facilities.
There is a national opioid epidemic and one intervention to help those suffering from an opioid use disorder (OUD) is medication-assisted treatment (MAT). MAT is the use of medications in conjunction with behavioral therapy as part of a long-term treatment regimen. There are three main MAT medications used today—methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone. Research has shown MAT, in particular the use of methadone or buprenorphine, is considered an evidence-based practice to treat OUD. Studies indicate those in MAT have better outcomes than those who engage in therapy alone. This article provides an overview of MAT with a focus on use with criminal justice populations.
Juvenile Justice in Illinois, 2015, provides a statistical overview of the juvenile justice system in Illinois across four decision points in which data were available: arrest, detention admissions, active probation caseloads, and new sentence admissions to corrections. Statewide and regional figures are provided with rates spanning from 2011 to 2015. In addition, population, demographic, and offense type information is provided for decision points in which data were available in 2015. Overall, rates for arrest, active probation caseload, detention admissions, and new sentence admissions to corrections have decreased between 2011 and 2015; however, the Central and Southern regions had slight increases in detention admission rates.
While more than half of individuals incarcerated in U.S. jails and prisons meet the diagnostic criteria for a substance use disorder, little is known about their misuse of prescription drugs. In this study, Authority researchers, in collaboration with WestCare Foundation Illinois, surveyed 573 state prisoners on prescription drug use to examine prevalence, accessibility, motivation for use, and effects. Forty-six percent of the sample reported using prescription drugs to get high and 20 percent used prescription drugs daily in the year before their incarceration.
It is important for states to understand current drug and crime trends in order to be proactive. Local law enforcement can provide important contributions in identifying emerging drug and crime trends as frontline officers. To get the local law enforcement perspective, the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority administered a survey to Illinois police chiefs and county sheriffs to gain insight regarding drug trafficking in their jurisdiction. Eighty-three police chiefs and county sheriffs responded to the survey, most frequently identifying heroin and prescription drugs as the greatest drug threats in their jurisdictions. Methamphetamine was also reported as the greatest drug threat in the central and southern regions of Illinois. This article is a summary of key findings of the full report
Synthetic drug use is a growing public health concern. Synthetics are often cheaper and more readily available than cannabis and amphetamines, making them attractive alternatives to other illicit drugs. In addition, the chemical formulas for these drugs are constantly changing, making them difficult to regulate, and their detection is limited in commonly used drug screenings. Authority researchers partnered with WestCare Foundation to survey 573 state prisoners on synthetic drug use to examine prevalence, accessibility, motivation for use, and effects. Thirty-six percent of respondents reported any synthetic drug use in their lifetime prior to incarceration. Findings suggested a proportion of the criminal justice population engages in synthetic drug use and the findings were consistent with other research on synthetic drug use.
Juveniles adjudicated delinquent for a sex offense can result in lifelong consequences, including sex offender registration. Further, there can be repercussions financially, emotionally, and socially for a juvenile and his/her family that extend throughout the individual’s life. Given the potential negative impact of sex offender registration, it is important to understand the implications of the registry within the larger context of youth development and juvenile justice. This report analyzes characteristics of youth arrested, detained, and admitted to corrections in Illinois in 2014 and associated trends from 2004 to 2014.
Police administrators across the country are recognizing the need to connect individuals with whom they come into contact in the community to evidence-based treatment to better address the large social and economic burden of substance use disorders (SUD), a chronic and relapsing condition. Police frequently encounter substance using individuals and their families in the community, and often have repeat contacts with individuals suffering from SUD. The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of different police agency responses to individuals with SUD that are intended to prevent overdose deaths and divert individuals with SUD away from the criminal justice system and toward appropriate support and treatment.