Cook County Board Finance Committee
Departmental Budget Meeting
State’s Attorney - Presented by Kimberly Foxx
Proposed 2022 Budget: $187,870,209 2021 Budget: $176,029.324
2022 includes $526,335 from the American Rescue Plan Special Purpose Fund
Proposed 2022 FTEs: 1,432 2021 FTEs: 1397.4
Highlights: 2021 Initiatives and Outcomes
Operational Opportunities: 2022 Initiatives and Goals
State’s Attorney Foxx’s Remarks
Foxx suggests that there are misunderstandings and even misinformation about how and when felony charges occur in Cook County. She explains the procedure:
Q Do you have any problem hiring staff?
A We do well in hiring. We target law students. There are challenges:
Q How is your budget striking the balance to help people feel safe but not criminalizing members of the community?
A We prioritize crimes of violence. In the past, resources were going to shoplifting and drug cases. For the last four years, we have focused on gun offenses. Narcotics cases have shrunk because these should be diverted to treatment. This allows more resources to go to violent crime.
Q There was a gunfight recently in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago. There was a video. Why was no one charged? The mayor used the term “mutual combatants,” indicating that both sides of the incident should be arrested. Should they have been?
A The video did not capture the beginning of the conflict. Under the law, people do have the right to defend themselves—and so the beginning is important. In this instance, all of the witnesses said, “I want a lawyer.” The police and we agreed that we had not enough evidence. The mayor’s remarks were disappointing. Frustration cannot lead us to make bad choices.
Q How can we help address mental health needs?
A Too many mentally ill people are in jail. The felony review team sees that these are mental health situations. But when people go to Mental Health Court, they get more entangled in the system than they need to be. People should be deflected out of the system entirely. But the SA doesn’t have a mechanism to do that--we need robust treatment so that they don’t come to us at all. We have not been thoughtful about the role of trauma and mental health in gun violence. Children who suffer trauma have no access to social workers, therapy. They feel they are better off with a weapon. But a child with a gun easily overreacts, leading to tragedy. Our strategies have not been proactive but reactive We need to figure out how to bring services on the front end.
Q What about the budget for dealing with carjackings?
A The PA office cannot do anything until the police bring cases to them. The case-clearing by the police for carjackings is only about 12%.
Observer - Janet Kittlaus
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