Jim Dey: Kilgore supporters standing by their man

Jim Dey: Kilgore supporters standing by their man

Nothing is so exciting as a cause celebre on a university campus; hence, the denunciations of a "rightwing smear campaign" are ringing loud and clear on the University of Illinois campus.

The UI faculty and administration have been twisting themselves in knots since news broke recently that the university had decided not to renew the contract of James Kilgore, the onetime Symbionese Liberation Army soldier, fugitive, inmate and parolee who turned into a man for all seasons on campus.

There are at least three competing online petition drives urging the UI to reverse its decision, even as Chancellor Phyllis Wise has appointed a faculty committee to review Kilgore's status.

An international petition drive sponsored by change.org has attracted more than 1,600 signatures.

Although Kilgore's local support has been loud and public, those taking up his cause do not yet represent, as a percentage of the UI population, a majority.

A community petition drive started by Stephanie Burch, one of Kilgore's associates from a local prisoner reform group, attracted 250 signatures as of Wednesday morning. Another petition drive, one sponsored by William Sullivan, who serves with Kilgore on the county's jail advisory committee, had 310 names.

Among the signatories on the faculty petition were such faculty and staff luminaries as Cary Nelson, Stephen Kaufman, Robert McChesney, former Democratic congressional candidate David Green, Robert Warrior and Julian Rappaport. Professor Rappaport also serves with Kilgore on the jail advisory committee.

Kilgore's faculty-member wife, Teresa Barnes, also showed support for her spouse by signing the petition.

The numbers fall far short of constituting a significant percentage of the UI faculty, staff and support employees. The chancellor's office report that the UI has 2,458 faculty members — 1,851 tenured or on tenure track and 697 on visiting faculty or instructional status. The UI employs an additional 3,665 as administrative and academic professionals and 4,136 in support staff.

Emotions run high

But the battle over Kilgore is more about emotion than numbers. Ever since The News-Gazette's early February story detailing Kilgore's background, his supporters have openly questioned a report they have, by turns, denounced either as an unfair expose that revealed unflattering details of Kilgore's past or a story that was not news because Kilgore has never denied his colorful background.

Even The Daily Illini, the university's student newspaper, has felt compelled to address the issue, maintaining it knew all about Kilgore's personal history but remained silent.

"The Daily Illini chose not to report on Kilgore's status as a former felon because we did not believe that his status was news. Kilgore's status as an instructor was no different than any other instructor," the DI said in a recent editorial.

Well, perhaps no different than any other faculty members who were members of the SLA, the cultish 1970s revolutionary group whose members assassinated Oakland's school superintendent, severely wounded another school administrator in the same incident and later kidnapped newspaper heiress Patty Hearst and held her for ransom.

Most of the gang, a collection of young, upper middle-class white men and women led by a black escaped convict named Donald DeFreeze, was killed in a highly publicized shoot-out with the Los Angeles Police. But a second iteration of the SLA, one that included Kilgore, rose from the ashes and went on a bank robbery and bombing spree.

Historical accounts indicate that Kilgore, who was heavily armed, participated in two robberies, one in which a bank customer was shot and killed. Further, Patty Hearst described Kilgore in her memoir "Every Secret Thing" as a skilled thief and bomb-maker who masterminded a series of terror explosions in the San Francisco area under the moniker not of the SLA, but of the New World Liberation Front.

Following Hearst's arrest in 1975, Kilgore began a multi-decade life as a fugitive, stealing the name Charles John Pape from a dead Seattle child. He was arrested in 2002 in South Africa and, after pleading guilty to murder, explosives and passport violation charges in state and federal court in California, served a relatively brief prison sentence.

Paroled in 2009, he joined his faculty wife and went to work as the UI as both a faculty and staff member. Now his supporters claim it's unfair for a person who's served his time not to be retained by the UI because of the fallout from an unflattering news story. Further, some faculty members contend that Kilgore's academic freedom is being violated. The accusations of political persecution get wilder from there.

A Sandusky, Ohio, supporter of Kilgore writes that "firing this man is implicitly supporting fascism."

A Denver, Colo., backer said the universities need convicted felons on their faculty.

"Any educational institutions that DOESN'T have faculty who have direct experience as a victim of the Prison-Industrial-Complex is unworthy of the title 'Educational Institution.'"

"We need to counter the right-wing smear campaign employed by this conservative garbage," writes a man from Portland, Ore.

A retired college professor from Oberlin, Ohio, calls the controversy "a (sic) egregious abuse of power and seemingly cowardly response to pressure from the prison-industrial complex" on the part of the UI.

'An ugly scene'

Pete Brook, who operates the website prisonphotography.org, issued a ringing endorsement of Kilgore, calling him a "respected researcher, writer, educator and criminal justice activist" who is a "former political insurgent who took up arms against federal authorities." He said that Kilgore is a victim of a vast right-wing conspiracy whose members are determined to build a new county jail.

"I believe it is motivated by a will to limit Kilgore's very effective activism against a proposed new jail in Champaign-Urbana. Kilgore has proven himself a very adept strategist and activist leader in (Champaign-Urbana). Kilgore was instrumental in the fight," Brook wrote, summarizing "an ugly scene unfolding in Illinois right now."

For his part, Kilgore has said little about his situation but not remained silent.

"I think this has grave implications for academic freedom, and I think it has grave implications for the employment prospects for people who have criminal backgrounds, felony convictions in particular," he said.

However, Kilgore is a prolific writer, penning novels and articles that give his perspective on what he considers to be an unfair criminal justice system and the people who run it. Recounting in a February article a conversation he had regarding the county jail situation with Sheriff Dan Walsh, Kilgore made no attempt to sugarcoat his feelings.

"At the end of the meeting, (Walsh) reached out to shake my hand, and I accepted. I thought about washing that hand as soon as I got home but I didn't," he wrote.

Jim Dey, a member of The News-Gazette staff, can be reached by email at jdey@news-gazette.com or at 217-351-5369.

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pattsi wrote on May 08, 2014 at 10:05 am

It is so rare that a news consumer has the chance to have more than a surface set of knowledge about anything. The whorling comments, news, etc. about Jim Dey's February N-G article about Mr. Kilgore is local, but now making it to the national level.  So it is fun to read those articles written by folks outside our community. Here is a most recent one--our communiy is now featured in an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education. 

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/05/08/contract-renewal-adjunct-c...

All of this recent rhetoric brings to mind the mornig I was checking out of a well known Washington, DC hotel during the Chief controversey. The front desk person when the individual realized that I was associated with UIUC proceeded to express very interesting comments about the Chief. My thought was "how in the world is someone in Washington, DC, even interested in this situation?" Of course, it had to do with the fact that the community and university were in the national news for a long time.

UrbanaJake wrote on May 08, 2014 at 9:05 pm

@Pattsi: I am sorry to tell you this, but you actually live in a pretty important place. Many, many things were invented in Urbana-Champaign, and I know you've lived in this community bubble for a long, long time, but yes, people talk about the University of Illinois: across the country and world.  Brace yourself, but most states don't have a $1 billion-plus operation. I know, I know, they should just raise taxes. To the point: I was an elected member of the Senate and voted to retire the Chief. It's time to retire Dr. Pape/James Kilgore. He is a mascot for violence, nepotism, and poor scholarship. I know, I know, you are used to him. You are comfortable with your radical mascot. Let go, you'll feel better and this fall's first-year (that's freshman, Patsi) won't remember Dr. Pape/Kilgore was even here. And the world will keep talking and spinning. Good night. 

rsp wrote on May 09, 2014 at 6:05 am

Boy, you sure assume a lot with your smug attitude.

Joe American wrote on May 08, 2014 at 8:05 am

Is "rightwing smear campaign" the best they got?  Nothing like coat-tailing their slogan off of Madame Hillary's 90's vintage catchphrase, that which is still the laughing stock of may Capital beltway jokes.

Again, this issue is nary the business of the pointy headed faculty.

chumberley wrote on May 08, 2014 at 9:05 am

I'm begining to wonder if Jim Dey has some sort of personal vendetta against Kilgore.  Could this article be any more biased?  Dey seems rather offended that anyone would question his 'news-worthy expose' about the past of a staff member that many on campus were already aware of.  Another newspaper believes this is not news..."Well, perhaps no different than any other faculty members who were members of the SLA..."  How dare they not see things the way he does?   People believe Kilgore is being wrongly targeted..."The accusations of political persecution get wilder from there."  Their arguments are just out in left field.  Hmmm....seems like Dey doesn't like it when people disagree with him.

And I think the point about the petition signers not constittuting a majority of the UI faculty and staff is misleading.  Jim Dey, I am curious as to what percentage of the faculty/staff in the departments/college that Kilgore works do the petition signers constitute?  What exactly is your reference group when looking at a petition and deciding whether the amount of signatures is sufficient to bring attention to the issue?  Is it a percentage of people in his department, college, the university, the community, the state, what?  Because you are implying that it should be a majority of all faculty and staff at the university, and I would counter that it should be his departments (let alone that it doesn't need to be an actual majority).  Personally, being in an LAS department, I would be hesitant to sign a petition in support of an Engineering professor of whom I have no personal knowledge or experperience working with.  

It seems to me that Dey and the Kilgore denouncers want him dismissed from the university over things he did 40 years ago, for which the legal system has determined that he has paid his debt to society.  Kilgore has since been a contributing member of society and an asset to this educational institution.  Should he continue to be punished because of his past?  Do people not grow and change?  If so, then I guess we are all doomed by the ignorant mistakes of our youth.  I mean, I once got picked up for shoplifting as a teen....I guess I should have been locked away forever.  Who am I to instruct and guide undergraduates when I showed such reckless disregard for the law in my past?  We all make mistakes, and learn from them and move on.  Kilgore's present should be more of a demonstration of his character than his actions decades ago.

Granted Kilgore's actions were substantially more severe than shoplifting, but the principle is the same.  What this comes down to is rights of convicted criminals to be able to live and grow and prosper after doing their time.  If people are never going to change and we should continue to judge them based on their past actions, then why not just sentence everyone to life?  Why release them and give them second chances if they will never fully be given the opportunity to capitalize on those second chances?  

BruckJr wrote on May 08, 2014 at 4:05 pm

Liberal arts, eh?  Say no more.

acer217 wrote on May 08, 2014 at 11:05 am

Having been at the university for 10 years, I was not aware of Mr. Kilgore until Mr. Dey wrote about him. I was shocked to find out that the university would hire someone of his character.

I am very supportive of Mr. Dey bringing this issue to light and I appreciate seeing the newspaper stand by their columnist's tenacity.

It is important to not simply sweep a controversial issue under the rug as is common in the typical offend-no-one style of Midwest journalism that I've come to see. This is even more so appreciated in an age when many newspapers are reeling-in anything controversial for fear of losing subscribers, and readers often get nothing more than some bland coverage of fundraisers a day after happening.

Mr. Kilgore should never have been hired at the university. Period.

This is not an issue of academic rights.

Mr. Kilgore is not being targeted for his speech or his ideas, for which he is free to continue contributing outside of the university employment system.

Rather, as a convicted murderer, thief, bomb builder, and world-class manipulator, Mr. Kilgore is being held accountable for his actions against humanity.

One of the pillars to academic scholarship is an unyielding reach for objectivity, yet I have zero belief that Mr. Kilgore's supporters would come out of the woodwork if they were not ideologically aligned.

I believe that if it were revealed that Mr. Kilgore had participated in the equally heinous murdering of doctors and bombing abortion clinics, then they would be screeching in the streets for his immediate termination.

This is not a case of right-wing or left-wing politics, and it not a case of some local vandetta of a columnist. It is about bringing to light that the university system hired one of the most despicable men to breath air.

As this issue goes national, it will become a cause celebre of how universities have become nothing more than lunatics running the asylum.

rsp wrote on May 08, 2014 at 12:05 pm

I don't have a problem with the Universtity hiring convicted felons provided they know who they are and the employment is appropriate. In this case there are several things I have concerns about. First are all the comments about how it's been decades since he has committed a crime, when he was living illegally under a false name just 12 years ago. Second, if he used a false name to get an education his degrees are worthless. Falsification of documents is grounds to be dismissed as a student at the UI, so how can they have an instructor who lied for decades about who he was? Finally, serving your time in jail after committing a crime does not make you a political prisoner. If you think that makes you like Mandela you should see someone.

Fedupwithstatereps wrote on May 08, 2014 at 2:05 pm

I agree 100% with you chumberley!  Jim Dey clearly is on a mission.  The slant of this article is so obvious and not objective in any way.  If Mr. Kilgore has paid his debt to society, turned his life around and is giving back, what gives Mr. Dey the right to continue to punish?!  Are you so perfect and without mistakes you regret?  Who put Mr. Dey in charge of making the determination of who deserves a second chance and who does not? 

UrbanaJake wrote on May 08, 2014 at 9:05 pm

Read the University of Illinois publication "Radical Teacher." James Kilgore has one of his many published articles. In his published work, Kilgore says he committed "political crimes," doesn't like people with tatoos, and wouldn't make improvements at his prison (where he was an inmate) because it wasn't worth the personal effort.  Ladies and gentlemen, I present Dr. Charles Pape of Claremont, South Africa. Born in Portland, Ore., he obtained an economics degree from a second tier Univ. of Calif. university. From there, he was an honest cook and painter. Then he met a S. Liberation Army woman and it went all downhill from there. Kilgore robbed a bank and brought a shotgun inside the bank, assembled pipe bombs, and witnessed Patricia Hearst suffer post-tramatic stress of a kidnap and rape victim. 25-year-old Kilgore fueled the SLA. When a judge issued a warrant, Kilgore went to Minnesota to hide with his then-girlfriend and SLA fugitive. Then it was on to Africa, where the world's most racist and white authoritian country awaited. Kilgore became an authority in teaching dispossed Blacks. Kilgore went on to marry Teresa Barnes, herself a Brown Univ. bachelors holder and holder of a doctorate earned in sub-Saharan Africa. But there's more!  In 1994, Kilgore renewed hi phony passport and continued to travel to the land he hates, the United States, in the 1990s. Why does he hate America? Because, as the SLA and he writes, it's racist, sexist, ageist, against women, against gays...shall I continue?  So, after 9/11, international police agency INTERPOL finally gave the U.S. a tip on his whereabouts: a majority-white luxury suburb in a country of 90 percent Black residents. And here we are today. JIm Dey on a mission, Kilgore on a life-long mission of leisure and poor academic work product fit not a high schooler, and me, exhausted by it all. And Kilgore makes $25 per hour -- every semester. And $17,000 per every two 8-week classes he teaches. But Kilgore wants more! more money! more classes!  more trips like the one he took to Washington, D.C. and Chicago on the taxpayer dime! The circus is truly in town this spring.  

asparagus wrote on May 08, 2014 at 10:05 pm

Kilgore eagerly participated in the commission of vicious HATE CRIMES including rape and murder. Such a person does not belong on the faculty, period.

Just because he is a leftist does not make his crimes any less heinous.

Shame on all of you that argue otherwise!  Have you no compassion for his victims and their families that are still suffering?

Mr Dreamy wrote on May 09, 2014 at 11:05 am

Jim Dey is simply a muckraker, and not a very good one at that. Despite reporting in some elitist education periodical, this story has no legs, except locally to stir up the local unwashed, resentful low achievers. Sorry Mr. Dey, no Pulitzer for you.

The whole News Gazette organization, which includes WDWS, is mired in right-wing drivel. The company broadcasts Limbaugh, he who is kind and speaks so well of women, minorities, and the disadvantaged, and Hannity, who openly supports right-wing domestic terrorists.

If you lay down with dogs you get up with fleas.

How about some balanced writing for once, instead of faux outrageous indignation?

Honestly, what skin off your nose that some guy who used to be a bad guy works at the U of I? What if he was Oliver North, convicted (then "un" convicted on a technicality) who committed far worse, far more significant offenses which not only got a lot of people killed, but he also aided major drug dealers. Kick him out, too?

I say leave Kilgore alone, and if Col. North comes here to teach, leave him alone, too.

The past is past, what are you doing now should be the issue. 

serf wrote on May 09, 2014 at 10:05 pm

the local unwashed, resentful low achievers

Classy

illini82 wrote on May 09, 2014 at 10:05 pm

As an individual Mr. Kilgore can say what he wants. But he has a past. As others have said this isn't a conviction for having pot at 19 years old 25 years ago or other non violent crime from his youth. This is a person who took part in an organization that murdered and terrorized people. He believes violence as an acceptable means to promote political change. He has a past. A violent past.

But, here we go again as the University of Illinois continues to be a safe-harbor for every left wing poltico nut jub. Is there a Red magnet on the quad? I'm surprised the Alma Mater wasn't replaced with a statue of Che or Marx. 

The primary functions of any university is research and education. Research into looking for ways to make our future better through innovation and invention. And education. To make productive citizens of our young people who will be able to utilize the skills they have learned to be both self supporting and for many of them to become innovators in improving our lives and those of future generations. Not soley to become poltical activists who insist on tearing everything down in our society. What good does a political science major who has marched and blogged against everything in our society but has to go back home and live with his parents? He can't find a job and to many is un-hirable. How many of those do we need around.

And how many would know about Kilgore's past if it wasn't brought to light by the press? A lot has happened since the 70's and who of the current student body or anyone under 40 even knows the history of this person? Yet the left says bringing out the truth about his past is muckracking. And the DI saying his past wasn't news? Isn't it the job of the media to expose facts? The leftists supporters are so contradictory. On the one hand they are PROUD of his past but on the other hand don't feel it's necessary to expose his past. But it's so typical. Does anyone honestly believe that a conservative applicant wouldnt' have his past brought up by those who are against him?

And here we are with a University which needs private support and donations more than any time in its history but at the same time is at its least deserving of such support based on its questionable actions.

Sid Saltfork wrote on May 10, 2014 at 10:05 am

Kilgore is not a political activist.  His claim to fame including his publications, marriage, and job came about due to his crimes against his country's innocent citizens.  He has profited financially from his criminal past which was a brief six years in prison.  How many murderers, bank robbers, etc. serve such a brief sentence with no remorse expressed?  A political activist would not sell his beliefs for "work" in academia.  A self promoting con man would though.

When I observe the pictures of Kilgore's supporters, I am struck by their age.  People who came of age during Vietnam, Watergate, and demonstrations now are signing their names in defense of "academic freedom" for a con man.  Obviously; the time for retirement of these intellectuals has come.  They may have demonstrated, and few may have served; but they ranted from the safety of academia for the rest of their lives rather than remain committed to their cause.  The few who commented in defense of Kilgore expressed their support in an incoherent manner depending more on insults than logic.  That should be the national story.  The arrogance of academia toward those who academia supposedly champions over the defense of one of their own.  It does show how time, money, and job security changes self perception.  Yes; it is time for many academics to retire, and enjoy their utopian village of Urbana.  The professor emeritus junk should be dropped with retirement also.  Convert a bedroom into a study; and don't bother the staff at the previous employment site.

Jim Dey's articles on Kilgore did one great service.  It allowed the public insight into the murky world of academia including nepotism, arrogance, and self serving.

Local Yocal wrote on May 10, 2014 at 12:05 pm
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If you look at the timing of Dey's article on Kilgore, the timing of the follow-up guest commentary allowed by Doug Kimme and Associates, and Sheriff Walsh/Judge Difanis' renewed double-down-campaign to build a $23 million dollar jail expansion now that Kalmanoff, that pesky Carol Ammons, and the Social Justice Task Force are out of the way, .....it's becoming clear that this series on Kilgore is designed to exact revenge on Kilgore for causing a construction delay on the new jail expansion and prevent Kilgore from contributing to the jail debate ever again.

Dey disenguinously answered Jim Turpin on WDWS when asked where did Dey get the idea for this story, and Dey concealed the real reasons that prompted his digging, with a coy, nonsense answer: "Well, Kilgore move here in 2009. The story came to me." Bulls---, and Dey knows it.

Kilgore was selected to be on the Jail Task Force committee in spring of '12 and for the next 2 years, the N-G knew who Kilgore was (It took Smilepolitely's Rob McColley less than 3 minutes to google Kilgore and discover his past when Kilgore wrote a story about the jail expansion on their website in '12 and Kacich sat through county board meetings where Kilgore acknowledged his prison experiences.) It only became an issue for the N-G when a bristling law enforcement community and Doug Kimme didn't get their expensive jail expansion built. It was then Kilgore became a target, knowing County Board Facilities Chairman Stan James was poised to launch another round of manipulating the county board for more jail construction. 

The News-Gazette could care less where Kilgore works and uses "questionable hiring practices" as a ruse to get rid of Kilgore. They can't even correctly report the facts as to what the outrage is over this hachet job. It's not that the report is "unfair" or "innaccurate," it's that it's irrelevant. Dey won't admit who was ringing his phone prompting him to do the Kilgore story.

Dey has yet to connect any dots that U of I students have been at-risk by Kigore's classes (notice Dey won't interview any past students of Kilgore), and now Dey's reporting/innuendo has the community believing Kilgore was the shooter that killed the victim in the bank robbery, Kilgore raped Patty Hearst, and Kilgore is currently an active terrorist- all total falsehoods. I suppose someone will have to dig up the alcoholic pasts of The News-Gazette's writers and editorial staff to demand their pink slips if this game had any merit.

Following the N-G logic, perhaps one of the holier-than-thou's from up high on Countess Cathedral could pen an editorial demanding churches should ban half of the New Testament since, you know, it was written by a serial killer.  

Just to show this Kilgore series has nothing to do with objective journalism or the quality of instruction at the U of I, watch how Dey won't interview the parents of Brianna Stickle to get their feelings about Champaign County's failure to prosecute Maurice Tucker for the three year-old's rape/murder despite having sat on Tucker's DNA for the last 10 years? Nope. That would insult the State's Attorney. Don't want that, now do we, News-Gazette?

Will Dey be prying into the whereabouts and current employment of Dr. Fineberg of Cherry Hills now that she's probably living amongst us after having stabbed her two children, killing one, in 2003? Nope. That would insult media superstar, attorney/professor Steve Beckett.

Will Dey be investigating the state of the U of I music department now that $180,000 dollars-worth of instruments have gone missing and what about the whereabouts and current employment of the thief who took them, now that he was given a slap on the wrist/ probation? Nope, can't disturb the admissions brochure for future band members or, again, her highness, the state's attorney.

How about an expose of the under-reported cases of sexual assault on campus or the lack of prosecution for domestic battery in ths county? (The Women's Fund supports over 3000 unduplicated women per year escaping family violence.) Nah, that would actually be a pertinent and ongoing issue regarding real public safety (terrorism), and again, don't want to upset our "heroes" in law enforcement. 

This thing with Kilgore is about the future $23 million dollar jail construction. Nothing more. Maybe someone needs to investigate if the Stevick Foundation has stocks in Kimme and Associates or something. 

Skepticity wrote on May 13, 2014 at 2:05 am

Dear Mr. Yocal,

You keep bringing up the jail construction plans and promoting your conspiracy theory about it.  You repeatedly indicate that this is why Mr. Kilgore is being targeted.  I reviewed the jail committee's report.  I guess I shouldn't have been surprised that it was laden with leftist thought. 

The old jail is obsolete and inappropriately crowded.  The new jail cannot meet the needs of the county in terms of properly housing the numbers of criminals being incarcerated. 

If there were fewer crimes being committed, less jail space would be needed.  Can't the social justice activists influence the criminals to stop committing crimes?  That would make more jail space unnecessary, and there would be fewer people being victimized.  The county could save money.  Assign every criminal a guardian activist! 

It does make sense to re-evaluate each case as to the need for an alleged criminal being held in jail before trial.  Unfortunately, many of those being held were previously out on bond, already facing trial for other crimes, or on probation already.  They had already demonstrated that they could not be safely released to the community.  Others waiting in jail committed dangerous acts and should not be released to victimize others. 

Electronic monitoring is an interesting idea for nonviolent arrestees, if it can be safely implemented.  Unfortunately, ankle bracelets are sometimes removed or ignored.   

The restorative justice model where the victim needs to meet with the criminal with a mediator sort of crosses the line for me.  This approach re-victimizes the victim.  To have the victim need to go meet with the criminal who mugged and robbed him, or meet with the rapist, or meet with the person who violated their sense of security in their home is one of the stupidest ideas I have heard.  But this is all about the needs of the criminal, not the victim. 

The idea of public safety and victims rights are ignored by the activists. It is the criminals they care about. 

It concerns me that some of the activists and others on the committee may have been unduly influenced by the ideas of Mr. Kilgore, who apparently has convinced highly educated and intelligent professors that his crimes were political crimes and should not impact his current situation.  Bombs, bank robbery including  one of his co-criminals committing murder, and forgery/identity theft.  Political crimes???!!!  He must be very persuasive!

Mr. Kilgore apparently sees himself as a victim of an unjust society, having been unfairly imprisoned by oppressive authorities. 

I hope that in working on the committee Mr. Kilgore hasn't had too much influence on Urbana's likely future representative (she IS the Democrat running in Urbana).  The report to the county on the jail would seem to indicate that either Mr. Kilgore has had that influence on her thinking, or even worse, she already shared his beliefs without being influenced by him. 

It would be refreshing if the local activists for justice reform showed that they cared at all about the safety of non-criminals, and if they placed the protection of the innocent above the needs of the criminals. 

I am glad to have read Mr. Dey's article and learned of Mr. Kilgore having participated in the jail committee appointed by the Champaign County Board despite his history.  It shows that the members of the Board harbor the same beliefs as the professors, beliefs that minimize the significance of Mr. Kilgore's crimes against innocents and make excuses for his crimes.  Beliefs that make it seem OK to grant him trust in a position of responsibility.  Trust that he should not be given due to the nature of his crimes and the way he has rationalized the crimes as being political acts. 

 

Local Yocal wrote on May 13, 2014 at 11:05 am
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Mr. Skepticity, 

Your analysis of the local criminal justice system is so wildly wrong, I have to, with all due respect, ask if you really read the task force's report, or any reports whatsoever about our system. 

You do harbor the armchair, conservative notions about crime and a short answer for you:

1) the current system doesn't give a rip about the victim and rarely do victims get compensated for a loss, are victimized as well during the process (ask a sex-crime victim if the police and prosecutors even believed her story) and rare is the sentence that accommodates their needs. Usually a defendant's monies go to the lawyers, the courthouse, the probation office, and counseling offices.

In fact, while you and I (as victims of crime) have to go to work, do laundry, feed ourselves and the kids, maintain the house and car, and all the other chores that come with daily life.....the system you defend has our inmates sitting around watching television all day, or playing cards, or sleeping while snacking on Little Debbie Snack Cakes to the tune of $50.00 a day. 

 

Skepticity wrote on May 13, 2014 at 11:05 pm

Yes, read the task force report.  Regurgitated progressive feelgood theory.  Not gonna phase those who have developed a criminal mindset. 

My viewpoint on these issues might be characterized as conservative, but not opinion built while in an armchair.  I have worked with the accused and with convicts in the system in various places around the state, and visited them in numerous jails and state correctional facilities.  I met with them when they were on probation or parole. 

I do not see any validity in the progressive theories that are diluting the impact of the criminal justice system. 

The change I would like to see is an end to plea bargain justice.  I would like to see consequences that are proportionate to the impact of the crime.  I would like to see a focus on public safety. 

But the point is, regardless of your theory about Mr. Dey's motivation for writing the story, Mr. Kilgore should not be in any publicly funded position.  The nature of his past crimes DO matter with regard to such employment.  

 

edited

Local Yocal wrote on May 14, 2014 at 10:05 am
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"The old jail is obsolete and inappropriately crowded."

I'd be curious where you read the above.

In the decade of propoganda even Sheriff Walsh, Rietz, Difanis, and former facilities chairman Tom Betz have thrown at The News-Gazette, never has overcrowding been the argument for more jail construction.

In fact, in Captain Alan Jones' last report to the county board in the spring of 2014, Jones showed that the jail population has been reduced down to an all-time low of 151, for facilities that can accomodate about 311. For the last decade, Champaign County has averaged about 220 inmates. Overcrowding is not the issue-never has been since Piland was run out of town. Difanis keeps a steady eye on the numbers, and they have learned to stop overcrowding the jail.

As for the old jail being "obsolete," depends on "what your definition of is, is."

The lllinois Department of Corrections thinks the old jail is just fine, and has given the old jail a passing grade, (a high grade) every year during their annual inspections. Which is why Champaign County is able to store equipment, people, inmates and employees in it as an active jail. The roof was repaired in 2012 for $50,000.

Former facilities director Alan Rinehart estimated the old jail needed about $1.8 million dollars worth of repairs, (tuck pointing, a new chiller, roof repair [now done] ect.) When the National Institute of Corrections inspected the old jail in May of 2011, the NIC found 3 flaws to our old jail: 1) peeling paint, 2) dingy lighting, 3) rodents and pests. The NIC recommended back in 2011, what Champaign County really needed was a work release center whereby arrestees/inmates with jobs could go to their jobs during the day, and return to a minimum facility in the evening. The NIC suggested trailors would suffice for such a purpose. State's Attorney Rietz wanted work release capability as well, but Sheriff Walsh poo-pooed the idea, declaring it, "too hard."

So the question becomes, how does needing some gallons of non-vaporous paint, better light bulbs, and an exterminator for a building younger than most people's homes, necessitate building a $23 million dollar addition to the Satellite Jail, which would send the already indebted County Budget in further debt until the year 2039?

Former-Facitities Chairman Tom Betz declared building a new addition at $10-15 million dollars would be cheaper for the taxpayers than repairing the old jail at $1.8 million. Current-Facilities Chairman Stan James believes any expenditures toward keeping people out of jail is a giant waste of money (like paying two people to do full-time pre-trial screenings, substance abuse intervention, mental health treatment, ect.) whereas building a $23 million dollar addition to the Satellite is the only real option toward fiscal responsibility. 

Maybe some conservatives out there understand this fuzzy math?

Kilgore and the Justice Task Force poked holes through law enforcement's phony reasons to go on another wild tax-and-spending spree, and thus,... the current obsession with Kilgore's past to discredit sound alternatives to wasteful incarcerations* that are implemented elsewhere around the country, and those that publicly support alternatives. (You have to wonder what they will dig up against Professor Lynn Branham?)

*what a "wasteful incarceration" is NOT: charges of murder, rape, armed robbery, severe acts of violence, causing injury with a gun, domestic violence, all forms of child abuse, pedophilia, ect.   

Skepticity wrote on May 14, 2014 at 2:05 pm

Mr. Yocal

My statement you quoted was in reference to the downtown jail facility.

From the News-Gazzett, Tue, 04/08/2014, "No Clear Plan For Downtown Jail," some content citing crowding:

"Due to the structural deficiencies, proper segregation of special needs, mental health and medical inmates has not been feasible," the report stated. "Holding cells (crowded with special needs inmates) in the booking area at the preliminary stages of this study were not defensible, as were the conditions in the Downtown Jail."

Not only are jail quarters crowded and unorganized, but, according to the report, the sheriff's office also doesn't have sufficient storage space, especially for equipment, evidence, documents or other operational items.

In a 2013 inspection report, the Illinois Department of Corrections criticized the limited space and functionality in the jails, specifically the downtown jail.

According to the department's report, the improvements suggested for the Champaign jails brought to "light the need for more space for (the jails') many programs and the reduced space available for the growing special needs population. ... The growing detainee population with the need for specialized care is beginning to present a problem for your security staff." 

 

The article we are posting on is about support for Mr. Kilgore, not the jail.

I am not going to continue discussion of the jail issue here. Maybe we can continue in some future article on that topic.

I do want to commend you for posting informational content in your responses. Informational posts lead me to review the basis for my thinking. Inflammatory cant just bugs me. Your post prompted me to review my position, which is always a good thing.