News Release: Lake County Among Select Group to Lead President Obama’s Data-Driven Justice Initiative

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Lake County Banner / Standard

June 30, 2016

Lake County Among Select Group to Lead  
President Obama’s Data-Driven Justice Initiative

Lake County, IL is participating in a new, bipartisan national Data-Driven Justice Initiative, launched by President Barack Obama today. Lake County is among 67 city, county, and state governments across the country that have been selected by the Obama Administration to join this initiative because of our commitment to innovative solutions that reduce incarceration and improve outcomes.

Lake County Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor said, “We are proud to be part of this national team that will focus on using data-driven strategies to divert low-level offenders with mental illness out of the criminal-justice system and into effective, community-based care. Lake County and the nation are combating a crisis related to properly treating people with mental illness.  I believe this is the greatest moral imperative for our leaders to address.  Our jails should not be mental health hospitals. By working together, we can not only save taxpayer resources by reducing our jail population, but also help stabilize families and better serve our communities.”

A delegation from Lake County, including District 13 Board Member Sandra Hart and Sheriff’s Office Deputy Chief William Kinville visited the White House earlier this year to share information and build on data-driven strategies that have been successfully implemented in other jurisdictions.

Sheriff Mark Curran said, “Sadly, many of the individuals in our jail have been there many times before, what we refer to as ‘super-utilizers.’ They are often chronically homeless, suffer from mental illness, substance abuse and health problems. Often, individuals going through pre-trial proceedings stay in jail because they can’t afford to bond out. Through this initiative, we will target these key populations and try to divert low-risk offenders so they can get the help they need to get well, and not return to jail.”

To join the Data-Driven Justice Initiative, Lake County and its justice partners have committed to advance three innovative solutions, including:  

  1. Creating or expanding real or near-real time local data exchanges that combine justice, health or other system data, as appropriate and consistent with applicable legal and privacy protections, to enable identification of multiple public system “super-utilizers;”

  2. Diverting this population, as well as people who may be committing low level crimes primarily due to mental illness, from the criminal justice system prior to arrest, where appropriate, and linking them to care management or other community-based services;

  3. Continuing to use data-driven risk assessment tools to ensure decisions on pre-trial release are informed by empirically validated methods of gauging defendants’ risk to the community, not ability to pay or other extraneous information.   

Chief Judge Jorge Ortiz said, “Many of Lake County’s efforts are designed to divert and help the mentally ill.   Our court has utilized the validated Virginia Risk Assessment Tool since 2006 and has been a leader in pre-trial monitoring as an alternative to incarceration.  We started a Mental Health Court in 2007 and are working with the Sheriff’s Office on Crisis Intervention Team Training.   In addition, we have received funding to hire a subject matter expert to help us plan for a future crisis drop off center, which is vitally important because without it, many mentally ill people may otherwise be incarcerated or taken to emergency rooms at great expense without a continuum of care.”

Lake County Jail Facts:

  • 2015 average daily population: 537
  • 2016 average daily population: 567
  • Today 88% (495 of 564) of the persons in the jail (presumed innocent) are awaiting trial.
  • The cost to house an inmate in the jail is $120 per day.
  • In 2016, the total cost for medical services at the jail is estimated at $2.97 million, which includes a medical services contract, jail medical supplies, and mental health services in the jail.
  • Annually, an average of 440 psychological assessments are performed on adults involved with the Lake County criminal justice system.
  • Out of 9,000 adults booked into the jail in 2014 and 2015, more than 3,000 (42%) were previously detained within the past three years.
  • Additional data on Adult Arrests, Adult Courts (filings, convictions, sentences, probation), Prison Admissions and Prison Exits is available through the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority.  

Costs of Highest Off-Site Medical Utilizers in Jail (Top 10 Inmates)  
June 20, 2015 – April 30, 2016

Jail Medical Costs


Contact: Jennie Vana

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Phone Number847-377-2154

Cell Phone Number: 847-707-9210