URBANA — Two community hearings on the war on drugs will be hosted this week by Champaign-Urbana Citizens for Peace and Justice and Citizens with Conviction.
The meetings will be from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday at the Levis Faculty Center, 919 W. Illinois St., U, and from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday at the Salem Baptist Church, 500 E. Park St., C. Both sessions will include keynote speakers Neill Franklin, a former Maryland narcotics officer and executive director of the Massachusetts-based Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, and Clifford Thornton, an anti-drug-war activist from Connecticut.
The two hearings are unrelated to ongoing hearings and discussions about whether Champaign County needs a new or remodeled county jail, said county board member Michael Richards, who also is a member of the county's community justice task force.
"This is a criminal justice issue they're discussing, but it does not relate directly to the Champaign County Jail," he said.
A press release from the C-U Citizens for Peace and Justice notes, however, that the talks "are part of our local campaign to oppose a proposal for an expanded jail in Champaign County that could cost up to $20 million."
At some time in March, the community justice task force is to hold a public hearing with Alan Kalmanoff of the Berkeley,Calif.-based Institute for Law and Policy Planning. Kalmanoff, executive director of the institute, is conducting a study of how the county can better manage its jails and jail population.