Jessica Reichert is
Manager of the Center for Justice Research and Evaluation.
Over the past decade, federal, state, and local law enforcement have increasingly been called upon to identify and investigate human-trafficking offenses. Numerous efforts have been put in place to track incidents, arrests, and criminal offenses related to human trafficking. In response to directives from the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (2008), the FBI added two new crime categories to the Uniform Crime Reporting Program (UCR) to capture commercial-sex acts and involuntary servitude. Additionally, in an effort to improve our understanding of the prevalence of human trafficking in the United States, state legislatures have begun to require the collection of data on human trafficking offenses identified by criminal-justice officials. However, despite the promises of standardized data from law enforcement about human trafficking, the numbers of reported human-trafficking offenses and arrests have been low. In this article, we examine official counts of human trafficking collected by criminal-justice-system data programs. We draw on data from a survey of state crime-reporting agencies and case studies of human trafficking crime reporting conducted in two U.S. states to explore the challenges that local police agencies face reporting human trafficking. Finally, we offer suggestions for improving officially reported data.
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.
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.
During stages of ongoing, yet incomplete, cognitive development, youth may be more inclined to take risks and experiment with drugs and alcohol and are often heavily influenced by their peers, leading to negative outcomes. Nationally and in Illinois, traditionally high drug use categories of marijuana and alcohol appear to be stable or falling and youth use of other drugs remains relatively low.
More than 500,000 individuals are released from prison each year. As they return to their communities, they face obstacles in finding employment and housing, as well as significant debt, outstanding fines, and restitution payments. Two-thirds of this population are arrested again within three years. St. Leonard’s House in Chicago offers voluntary, supportive housing for men exiting prison. Program clients receive housing, substance abuse treatment, psychological services, life skills, mentoring, and education and vocational services. Authority researchers used qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection, as well as quasi-experimental design and advanced statistical analysis, to examine outcomes after program participation, including arrests, convictions, incarcerations, and employment.
Opioid and heroin use is surging in Illinois communities and across the country with dramatic increases in the number of users and deaths by overdose. Communities, criminal justice practitioners, and public health professionals are struggling to help those suffering from opioid use disorders and, ultimately, save lives. This article provides an overview of the opioid epidemic and its causes, including the link between prescription opioids and heroin.
In 2014, the Reentry Program, one of three components of Illinois’ Community Violence Prevention Program (CVPP) receiving funds through the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, provided services to youth and young adults on parole and aftercare in 21 Chicago area communities in order to assist with their compliance with parole board orders and other aspects of successful community reintegration, such as educational enrollment and employment. Authority researchers examined the Reentry Program component of the Community Violence Prevention Program (CVPP) to ascertain how the program was meeting the reentry needs of Chicago area youth and young adults.
Satisfaction with the criminal justice system often reflects the opinions of the public rather than that of the offender. When probation clients are able to provide feedback in a meaningful way, they are less marginalized and alienated from a process attempting to make changes in their behavior and attitudes. Authority researchers interviewed probationers served by Adult Redeploy Illinois program models to gain their perspectives and make recommendations for program enhancement.
In Illinois, the distribution of controlled substances is a significant problem and task forces were created to combat the distribution of controlled substances at the local level. This study sought to understand the extent of the drug problem in the jurisdictions covered by each drug task force. Authority researchers surveyed 19 Authority-funded drug task forces on types of drugs, frequency, trends, use, and distribution.
Jails in the United States house large numbers of detainees who have urgent public and behavioral healthcare needs as well as various serious social, economic, and personal problems. Jails are often the primary (or only) settings for medical, psychiatric, and substance abuse treatment.
Growing public support for prison reform has brought attention to community-based supervision alternatives, including intensive supervision probation for offenders who are at significant risk of being incarcerated. Researchers examined four intensive supervision probation with services programs supported by Adult Redeploy Illinois for fidelity to the evidence-based service model.
Urban violence is a major public health concern and at epidemic levels in some neighborhoods, directly impacting the mental health of its residents (Morris, n.d.). The rate of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among urban populations is estimated to be around 31 percent, higher than the PTSD rate among returning Iraq war veterans of 17 percent.
Drug courts emerged in the 1990s to address serious drug offending while improving offender outcomes and reducing incarceration costs. Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority researchers examined drug courts funded by Adult Redeploy Illinois (ARI) in five counties. Data to measure the 10 key components was collected after 18 months of program implementation (August 2012 to July 2013). ARI applies evidence-based, data-driven, and result-oriented strategies to curb prison overcrowding and enhance public safety.
More than 2.4 million people are confined in correctional facilities across the United States. Each year, more than half a million inmates are released from prison and return to their communities. The formerly incarcerated face many obstacles as they reenter the community, such as finding employment and housing, and paying outstanding fines, restitution, and other debts.
Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority researchers conducted an evaluation of the Community Violence Prevention Program’s Youth Employment Program. The program, which ended in August 2014, sought to increase job readiness skills, build relationships with a caring adult, improve attitudes toward employment and violence, increase self-esteem and conflict resolution skills, and offer community service and engagement.
More than 2.4 million people are confined in the U.S. in state and federal prisons, juvenile corrections, and jails. Each year, more than half a million individuals are released from prison and return to their communities. After leaving prison, offenders with criminal records face obstacles such as difficulty finding employment and housing, significant debt, outstanding fines, and restitution payments.
Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority researchers conducted an evaluation of the Community Violence Prevention Program’s (CVPP) Parent Program. The program, which ended August 2014, sought to increase protective factors to reduce child maltreatment by employing and training nearly 1,000 Chicago-area parents to lead service projects to help other parents in 20 communities.
Adult Redeploy Illinois (ARI) applies evidence-based, data-driven, and result-oriented strategies to curb prison overcrowding and enhance public safety. Since 2010, the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (Authority) has administered grant funding for ARI and offered research, evaluation, and technical assistance to the program.