April 20, 2017

State’s Attor­ney calls for Fund­ing of Kids’ Pro­grams to Pre­vent Crime
Joins Law Enforce­ment Lead­ers to meet with Illi­nois Law­mak­ers in Springfield

Union Coun­ty State’s Attor­ney Tyler R. Edmonds joined pros­e­cu­tors, police chiefs and sher­iffs from through­out Illi­nois this week to meet with lead­ers in Spring­field about invest­ing in research proven pro­grams for kids that pre­vent crime.

Law enforce­ment through­out Illi­nois rec­og­nizes that the best way to pre­vent crime is to invest in youth to help steer them toward a good start in life” Edmonds said.  “These pro­grams save tax­pay­er mon­ey and strength­en fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties mak­ing us all safer.”

The group met with sev­er­al leg­is­la­tors includ­ing House Minor­i­ty Leader Jim Durkin, Sen­ate Pres­i­dent John Culler­ton, Sen­ate Minor­i­ty Leader Bill Brady, Sen­a­tor Dale Fowler and Sen­a­tor Paul Schimpf.

The law enforce­ment lead­ers rep­re­sent­ed over 300 law enforce­ment lead­ers who are mem­bers of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Illi­nois, an anti-crime orga­ni­za­tion that advo­cates for evi­dence-based invest­ments in pro­grams for kids that are proven to cut crime and vio­lence including

  • Rede­ploy Illi­nois – which pro­vides inten­sive pre-tri­al and pro­ba­tion ser­vices for juve­nile offend­ers and sig­nif­i­cant­ly reduces recidivism.
  • Ear­ly Child­hood Edu­ca­tion – high-qual­i­ty pre-school pro­grams can dra­mat­i­cal­ly reduce future crime by giv­ing kids a good aca­d­e­m­ic and social start.
  • Teen REACH – after-school pro­grams rep­re­sent­ing safe and edu­ca­tion­al alter­na­tives to the streets. Thou­sands of at-risk youth ben­e­fit from safe spaces dur­ing the “prime time for juve­nile crime.”
  • Home Vis­it­ing Pro­grams – help for the new par­ents of at-risk infants and tod­dlers, reduc­ing child abuse and neglect, among oth­er pos­i­tive results.

Edmonds and oth­er law enforce­ment lead­ers also released a report on the sever­i­ty of the opi­oid epi­dem­ic in Illi­nois, and evi­dence-based pre­ven­tion efforts that can be a key com­po­nent of the response to that epi­dem­ic.  The report,Stop­ping the Opi­oid Cri­sis Begins at Home”, high­lights the role of home vis­it­ing pro­grams — vol­un­tary pro­grams in which nurs­es or oth­er trained pro­fes­sion­als coach at-risk par­ents dur­ing preg­nan­cy or dur­ing the first three years of a child’s life — in reduc­ing Adverse Child­hood Expe­ri­ences.  Indi­vid­u­als who expe­ri­enced sev­er­al Adverse Child­hood Expe­ri­ences are sig­nif­i­cant­ly more like­ly to mis­use or become addict­ed to opi­oids lat­er in life. Pre­ven­tion efforts tar­get­ed at reduc­ing these expe­ri­ences are nec­es­sary to reduc­ing opi­oid abuse.  The law enforce­ment lead­ers of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids are pri­or­i­tiz­ing anti-opi­oid efforts because of the scope of the prob­lem in Illi­nois: the state saw a 76 per­cent increase in opi­oid over­dose deaths from 2013 to 2016, and the rate of babies born with opi­oid with­draw­al — also known as Neona­tal Absti­nence Syn­drome —increased 53 per­cent from 2011 to 2016.

The law enforce­ment lead­ers of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids empha­sized that evi­dence-based pre­ven­tion pro­grams were just part of a mul­ti-pronged approach, which includes law enforce­ment efforts to put deal­ers behind bars, direct addicts to treat­ment, save lives through the use of nalox­one, and take action in the courts.   “There’s cer­tain­ly no sin­gle solu­tion to the opi­oid cri­sis,” Edmonds said. “But we’re here today to say: Our approach is incom­plete and insuf­fi­cient if it doesn’t include appro­pri­ate atten­tion to pre­ven­tion, and the role of proven ear­ly child­hood investments.”

State’s Attor­ney Edmonds serves as co-chair of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, the state office of a nation­al, non-prof­it, bipar­ti­san, anti-crime orga­ni­za­tion of more than 5,000 police chiefs, sher­iffs, pros­e­cu­tors, lead­ers of law enforce­ment orga­ni­za­tions, and vic­tims of crime.  It has over 300 mem­bers in Illinois.