Policy work in the criminal justice arena often focuses on felonies, with the more serious or notorious offenses getting the bulk of the attention. The volume of misdemeanor arrests and dispositions far outstrips those for felony offenses, yet we know little about this kind of offender or how they are sentenced. Over half of the people in State prisons have a history of misdemeanor arrests and one or more convictions. However, most people arrested for or convicted of a misdemeanor do not go on to commit felonies. As with felonies, criminal history remains the most significant factor in determining the sentence imposed. The reader should bear in mind that many misdemeanors move into felony classification based on second or subsequent offenses. This report focuses on the offense characteristics, dispositions, criminal history, and demographics for 2017 arrests and dispositions and recidivism patterns for a 2014 group of misdemeanants. The report is organized by the decision points in the system and includes demographic analysis based on race, gender, and geographic region.
The Illinois Sentencing Policy Advisory Council's Cost Benefit Analysis 2018 Report on the High Cost of Recidivism
The Illinois Sentencing Policy Advisory Council (SPAC) released our 2018 updated cost benefit analysis report on the high cost of recidivism and the supplement that fully explains our methodology. SPAC adopted this model and requested technical assistance from the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative because the model has been tested and accepted in the legislative and budgeting processes in Washington State for over 18 years, it was free, and it came with a multi-disciplinary technical assistance team. Using this model allows us to apply the best national research to Illinois-specific crime data. More importantly, the model is the best tool to determine the efficient use of tax dollars to minimize the risk that crime will occur.
View the short SPAC Prison Animation to understand how admissions and length of stay determine the size of the prison population.
To illustrate how different offense classes consume resources, SPAC analyzed the data for the average number of exits in each class for 2015, 2016 and 2017.
IDOC Admissions, Exits, and Population Pie Charts highlights data from State Fiscal Year 2018 and June 30, 2018 Admissions data.
When SPAC learns of implementation progress, the color may change, but no verification of the information is conducted.
Who is the average inmate coming out of state prison? What crime did he or she commit? How long did he or she spend in the system? What was his or her experience? To begin answering these questions, SPAC analyzed state prison releases to create an average “profile” using the most often occurring characteristics, as well as average and median lengths of stay.