Dupage County Lawyers

Prison System

Illinois Man Shares Experience to Highlight Possibilities of Reform

There can be life after prison, although the road to get there is usually difficult and badly needs reform. Consider the case of an Illinois man, now heading to Stanford University after having served 15 years of a 30-year prison sentence for marijuana trafficking.  Jason Spyres, now 36, was caught with 38 pounds of marijuana in Macon County in 2001.  He was given a Class X felony sentence, fined over $200,000, and told that he was un-rehabilitatable. Class X is considered more serious than a second-degree murder conviction, where the sentence may be probation. Now that he has left prison, Spyres is on...

Our Justice System Can't Cope with Mental Illness

The Illinois criminal justice system is not equipped to handle inmates with mental health issues. Despite the fact that people struggling with mental illness need treatment, in our society too many of them wind up in jail, putting a strain on both those that have the mental health problems and those without them. Estimates from 2009 show that about 2 million times each year, people with serious mental illnesses are booked into U.S. jails. The Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) estimates that 16 percent of 48,000 individuals in the total DOC population have a mental health disorder. Unfortunately, jail only makes their conditions worse, since...

Illinois Supreme Court to Hear Youth Crime Case

When children commit terrible crimes, should they be punished for most or all of the rest of their lives? Is our criminal justice system providing what children need to rehabilitate and become useful members of society? How much prison time is too much for crimes committed at an age when brains and judgment are not fully developed? In an attempt to deal with these issues, the Illinois Supreme Court will hear the case of Demetri Buffer, who received a 50-year prison sentence without parole for a crime he committed when he was 16. The plaintiff’s argument is that this sentence, 25...

Our Justice System Can't Cope with Mental Illness

If you think the criminal justice system is biased and broken, you are right in tune with most voters in Illinois. According to a new poll from Southern Illinois University, 73 percent of state voters, both Democrats and Republicans, think the state spends too much money on incarceration and not enough on education and treatment. In Illinois, more than 43,000 prisoners are incarcerated in prisons built for only 32,000, and nearly half of ex-prisoners return to prison within three years. If you have been arrested for a crime in Illinois, you need to hire the best criminal defense attorney that you can...

Our current system of mass incarceration is not working and is not sustainable.  As a result, people’s attitudes about what to do with nonviolent offenders are changing.  A recent nationwide poll found that 60 percent of Americans believe that rehabilitation and treatment are the most appropriate response to people who have committed nonviolent offenses. Currently, as many as one in three American adults have some type of criminal record.  While some ex-prisoners will continue to lead a life of crime, most of them try to rebuild their lives and avoid the criminal justice system.  The discrimination they face while struggling to do so greatly reduces...

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