Incarceration Rates Drop Nearly 20 Percent In Chicago Under State’s Attorney Kim Foxx

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Written by Ann Brown
In this Dec. 2, 2015, file photo, Kim Foxx, then a candidate for Cook County state’s attorney, speaks at a news conference in Chicago. Foxx, the Chicago area’s top prosecutor says her office is starting a new effort to target gun crimes in city neighborhoods and revamping a branch of her office that investigates possible wrongful convictions. State’s Attorney Foxx said Wednesday, March 15, 2017 that attorneys from her office are teaming up with federal prosecutors in two police districts that have some of the highest violence rates.(AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx of Chicago has another distinction other than being the one who decided dropped the charges against actor Jussie Smollett for filing a false report to the police. Now, incarceration rates have dropped nearly 20 percent under Foxx. And violent crimes decreased across Chicago by 8 percent during this same period.

According to a new report that looked at the prosecution practices and case settlements under State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, found the number of people sentenced to prison in Cook County decreased by nearly one-fifth last year.

The recently published report was conducted by a group of “community partners” including The People’s Lobby and Reclaim Chicago – two local organizations that supported Foxx during her 2016 election campaign – and the Chicago Appleseed Fund for Justice, an advocacy organization aimed at improving the court system.

The report revealed that the number of sentences involving prison time fell “significantly” during 2018, during Foxx’s second year in office. And they dropped by 19 percent year-over-year. 

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“The root causes of many crimes, including poverty and lack of mental health services or treatment for substance use disorder, go unaddressed or are made worse through prison sentences,” the Rev. David Thornton of The People’s Lobby said in a statement.

“Incarceration disrupts what little security and stability many people have, hurting entire communities by separating parents from children, workers from employment, and caregivers from the people who need them most. The vast majority of people given sentences of incarceration in Cook County are Black and Latinx, so decreasing incarceration is a significant step in addressing the racism of the criminal justice system in Cook County,” the statement continues.

“According to the report, the number of people who received a prison sentence dropped from 12,262 in 2017 – her first full year in office – to 9,941 in 2018, a drop of more than 2,300,” WTTW News reported.

The report takes Foxx, who took the post in 2016, out of the negative spotlight following the Smollett backlash.