Preckwinkle: Change Drug Policies, Reduce Jail Population

CHICAGO (CBS) — Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, who has publicly labeled the nation’s War on Drugs a failure, is now trying to turn the situation into something useful.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s John Cody reports, Preckwinkle says she is now actively working with the Cook County Public Defender, Sheriff’s office, State’s Attorney and Chief Judge on finding ways to reduce the population behind bars for drug offenses at the County Jail.

“My view – reduce it substantially,” she said. “If 70 percent of the people are there for nonviolent offenses – either accused or convicted and sentenced to time for nonviolent offenses –this isn’t the best use of our resources.”

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s John Cody reports

Preckwinkle says drugs have to start being treated as a public health problem, rather than a criminal justice issue.

Upon the 40th anniversary last week of President Richard M. Nixon’s declaration of the War on Drugs, the policy came under renewed criticism from many corners.

CBS News reported that back in 1971, the federal drug control budget was $155 million. Currently, it is more than $15 billion a year or, after inflation, 17 times higher than in 1971.

Police Supt. Garry McCarthy was among those who criticized the War on Drugs last week.

He said Friday that rather than just arresting drug dealers, police need to follow up to reduce the demand. He also said social services need to provide treatment for addicts and rebuild communities–not just throw people in jail.

  • Fed up

    Hit ’em where it hurts… their wallets. Enforce fines and make them pay for their crime. Not the tax payer. Take away their privileges. No more free rides. If they choose to steal then make them pay. Issue tickets. If they don’t pay the ticket, seize their assets. Take away a portion of their wages. Take away their public aid. If they commit a crime with a vehicle then seize the vehicle, issue tickets. If they don’t pay, then take it away. Add public humiliation by making them report for public community service. Put ankle bracelets on them to home monitor them. Do anything to stop our taxes from going up. And stop funding the criminal court circus.

  • jimmy

    The FBI and DEA fabricate evidence, steal from suspects and use murder to close their bad cases.

    In the San Francisco Bay area corrupt DEA agents are creating suspects to steal from.

    The Corrupt DoJ employee would give illegally obtained keys of their suspect’s home to a “booster” and provide the “booster” with information as to when the suspect would be away.

    The “booster” would steal jewelry and other items and pass them to a fence. The fence would kick back a portion of the gains to the corrupt DoJ employee.
    If the suspect complained about the stealing, they would fabricate evidence and the suspect could eventually be arrested and tried on bogus charges. If it looked like the arrest would not work, the suspect could be killed in a auto accident, killed by a gang member or shot by a corrupt DEA and a “throwdown” would be planted.

    I know this because it is happening to me.

    About 6 years ago I called the San Francisco U.S. District Attorney’s office to complain about the DoJ employees fabricating evidence and stealing from me. They had been harrassing me and stealing from me for almost 20 years. More recently I called the Santa Clara County D.A.’s office to complain about the same since the stealing continued after my called to the Federal D.A..

    Several corrupt DEA also went as far as tell me that if I contniued to complain about the stealing I could find myself in a rendition.

  • Citizen for a Livable Chicago

    For users/addicted, their should be treatment programs. It makes no sense to lock them up, write them a ticket and make them pay a fine. Treatement programs must be made available for all the addicted, free of charge. For the Sellers, they must be locked up.

  • Allen

    This seems like a no brainer. Release non violent offenders, and increase the prison sentences given to violent offenders. We should never have to read a story about someone with a lengthy criminal background, commiting a vicious crime. They should have never been released back into society. One perfect example, the idiot that set the baby on fire got 17 years. A crack dealer can do more time than that !

  • tom Sharp

    Wait a minute. Let’s have a show of hands who think the people repeatedly jailed for drugs (selling and buying) are committing no other crimes! Come on, you don’t think robbery, muggings, burglary, and worse crimes stem from the drug trade ! Be very careful who you’re putting back on the streets!

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