Non-profit organization to conduct study for the Champaign County Jail

Non-profit organization to conduct study for the Champaign County Jail

URBANA — The Champaign County Board has hired a non-profit policy and research organization to conduct a needs assessment study for the Champaign County Jail.

The county board voted 21-3 Thursday night to approve a $119,865 contract with the Berkeley, Calif.-based Institute of Law and Policy Planning to complete the study.

The organization will develop a plan to determine the anticipated capacity requirements for the jail in future years.

It will also estimate how much it would cost to remodel the current jail building in downtown Urbana and how much it would cost to build an addition to the county’s satellite jail facility.

According to the contract, the institute will have 25 weeks to complete the study.

The Institute of Law and Policy developed plans for jails and prisons in Caddo Parish, La., Los Lunas, N.M., and Martinez, Calif.

Champaign County Administrator Deb Busey said money for the study will come from the sales tax for public safety budget.

In other business, the cost of staying at the Champaign County Nursing Home is going up for private-pay residents.

The county board voted to increase the private-pay nursing home rates, effective on Dec. 1.

County board member Carol Ammons argued the rates should have been decided before the 2013 budget was approved.

“This reflects the costs we need to cover,” said county board member Jan Anderson.

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Local Yocal wrote on October 19, 2012 at 3:10 am
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Reporter Tim Mitchell fails to mention that the RFP also requires that ILPP study the way Champaign County prosecutes crimes to see if our jail space can be better prioritized for the actually violent, and not, as is often the case, a way to leverage guilty pleas and fines from the poor for petty crimes. Also, the RFP requires the firm study why there is such a great racial disparity within our criminal justice system. The neanderthals here will bang rocks together to say, "That's because blacks commit more crimes," using the "violence card" (national stats that indicate blacks are involved in more gun crimes); but this is Champaign County, a place that averages only about 10 homicides a year, so ILPP will be studying why so many are in jail for suspended licenses, small drug possession, and the like.

Whether ILPP will get access to the patrol priorities of the local police departments and will have time to study the setting of bonds and sentencing disparities across racial lines is going to be unlikely. The Jail Project Planning Team, comprised of those law enforcement officials eager to build a new $20 million jail, has been given a supervisory capacity over ILPP, and will be able to dictate the information and areas ILPP will be allowed to see. Whereas the Social Justice Task Force, also studying the criminal justice system, will not be allowed to advise ILPP. Busey, Betz, et al. have rigged the game once again, and it's been a uphill climb to have democracy rule the day on this question of spending $20 million dollars more of your tax dollars by a government currently in $50 million dollars of debt. This debt is due mostly to the 20-year expansion of Difanis/Beckett's Criminal Justice Empire Building. (But doesn't the new courthouse clocktower look pretty?)

If we were to prioritize violence over job-security rule violations that law enforcement mostly spends its time on (the broken window theory is still in play here;) we could live with 182 beds at the Satellite Jail and prosecute accordingly. What the voters want, is an actual reduction in the incidents of crime. More jailing only creates more crime. Drug treatment, jobs, mental health services, education, and rehabilitation would be better investments toward actually getting to the root of dysfunctional behavior; rather than the endless revolving door of caging and fining misery. Few jurisdictions in the country are finding that more jailing has improved life in their communities, and has ruined their government budgets. Many communities are de-incarcerating, and getting out of the jailing business. Champaign County would do well to join the 21st Century and stop letting itself be dictated to by a few ambitious law enforcement officials. If they cared about the inmates and guards, (which they don't), they would advocate for the building of a mental hospital, not more jail. But there's no money to be made off of that.

alumni90 wrote on October 19, 2012 at 9:10 am

 I strongly agree.   And, in regards to the Difanis/Beckett empire; Ms. Busey was Difanis's office manager when he was a State's Attorney in the 80's. 

skiparoo wrote on October 19, 2012 at 8:10 am

well said.  the whole system is that of extortion and the court is as crooked as my dog's back legs.