$2.5 Million Grant from the MacArthur Foundation to Cook County for Criminal Justice

Cook County’s court system has received a $2.5 million grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge, an initiative aimed to reduce the number of people in jail and address racial disparities in the criminal justice system.

“Local jurisdictions are proving it possible for cities and counties to rethink local justice systems from the ground up, despite challenges and an ever-changing political environment,” said Laurie Garduque, MacArthur’s Director of Criminal Justice.

“MacArthur remains committed to supporting jurisdictions as they set ambitious reform goals and pursue smart solutions that safely reduce all jail populations, address disparities and eliminate ineffective, inefficient and unfair practices.”

The Cook County court system received a $1.85 million grant from the MacArthur Foundation in 2007 and was one of five jurisdictions selected to receive additional funding this year “based on the promise and progress of the work to date.”

The $2.5 million grant will allow attorneys and court staff to review cases of pretrial defendants with low monetary bonds who are unable to post bail; provide peer mentors to defendants with repeat arrests related to mental health or substance abuse issues while their cases are pending; offer services for nonviolent defendants accused of drug offenses to help seek employment; and help develop a process to allow defendants with years-old outstanding warrants to address them.

Chief Cook County Circuit Court Judge Timothy C. Evans said in a statement: “I look forward to working with the stakeholders and the MacArthur Foundation on these crucial initiatives.”

Robert D. Kreisman of Kreisman Law Offices has been actively engaged in criminal justice reform and juvenile justice reform projects.

Kreisman currently serves as the chair of the Public Affairs Committee of the Chicago Bar Association and is chair of the Administration of Justice Committee, a subcommittee of the Public Affairs Committee of the Union League Club of Chicago. These two committees, made up of lawyers and non-lawyers alike have been actively involved in advocating for criminal justice reform in Illinois and in the federal system.

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling civil jury trials and general trial litigation for more than 40 years, in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas including Rosemont, Palatine, Palos Hills, Hanover Park, Carol Stream, Downers Grove, Naperville, Woodridge, Burr Ridge, Bridgeview, Bedford Park, Berwyn, Skokie, Evanston, Buffalo Grove, Glenview, Northfield, Chicago (Uptown, Lakeview, Logan Square, Englewood, Near West Side, North Lawndale, West Garfield Park, North Center, Austin, Little Village, Roseland, Pullman, East Side, Hegewisch, Mount Greenwood, Marquette Park, Bucktown, Ravenswood), Lincolnwood, Romeoville, Aurora, St. Charles, Northbrook and Wheeling, Ill.

Robert D. Kreisman has been an active member of the Illinois and Missouri bars since 1976.

Related blog posts:

Cook County Jail Population Drops to About 5,500 After September 2017 General Order 18.8A Limits Use of Cash Bail

Union League of Chicago and Chicago Bar Association Present Panel Reviewing “Policing in Chicago Under Consent Decree”

Kreisman Law Office Announces 2019 Student Scholarship Award