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Needs Assessment Survey of Illinois Criminal Justice Agencies

NCJ Number
T McEwen; R Pandey
Date Published
47 pages
This report presents the results of an assessment of problems and needs of criminal justice agencies in Illinois as identified through a survey of police chiefs, state's attorneys, judges, jail administrators, public defenders, and probation directors.
Results from the 651 surveys show that agency directors were especially concerned about violence (domestic violence, juvenile violence, and child abuse), drugs, and firearms. Generally, they believed that problems with violence had worsened over the last year. Regarding solutions, most respondents favored a mixture of approaches, including more youth prevention programs, better employment opportunities, and more severe punishments. Illicit drugs were also of concern to agency directors; more than three- fourths of responding police chiefs, judges, state's attorneys, and public defenders stated that drug-possession offenses were contributing to workload problems within their agencies. The assessment of the problems and needs within Illinois criminal justice agencies focused on operational programs, information systems, and training. Respondents marked several operational activities that need moderate or major improvements, including the need for local strategies to reduce juvenile crime, drug problems, and domestic violence. Many also noted the need for improvements in community policing, problem-solving, and reducing fear of crime. Several common needs were marked by judges, state's attorneys, public defenders, and probation directors. More than two-thirds indicated a need to improve or develop the following diversion and sentencing alternatives: drug treatment programs, sex offender treatment programs, and community service programs. Several information system needs were identified by respondents. Results from the state's attorneys were especially noteworthy, because they identified a greater number of needs than the other groups. More than two-thirds indicated information system needs for prior criminal history of defendants, information on codefendants, victim/witness names, speedy trial status, defendant tracking information, caseload report analysis, and bail/jail status of defendants. 12 exhibits