Chief Justice Pushing for Probation

The head of the Illinois Supreme Court is continuing to press legislators to fully fund the state court system. Brian Mackey has more:

[mp3 – 0:54 – 0.85 MB]

Springfield appears headed for steep cuts across state government — pushing costs onto cities and school districts, closing facilities, and slashing healthcare for the poor. Because of that, Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas Kilbride is making his pitch for more money into a strong headwind.

He’s focused on probation — the court officers responsible for monitoring low-level offenders who are not sent to prison.

KILBRIDE: “The biggest hit that we take in terms of that funding that has been reduced and reduced and reduced, year after year, is that probation.”

In the current budget year, probation’s funding was down 20 million dollars from where it was a decade ago.

KILBRIDE: “You know, if you’re going to be serious about being tough on crime – because that’s the politically convenient thing to say – well then you need to take care of the court system.”

About 600 probation officers have been shed through attrition and layoffs over the last five years … a reduction of nearly a fifth of the workforce.

I’m Brian Mackey.

Photo: Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas Kilbride spoke to the Illinois News Broadcasters Association on Saturday, April 28, 2012, at the group’s convention in Macomb.

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