Viewpoint | Fining kids by the Illinois criminal justice system needs to end


These costs have nothing to do with creating accountability or achieving victim restitution.
by Officer Dave Franco (Ret.)
Chicago Police Department
From my perspective, after 31 years in law enforcement and now as an adjunct professor teaching Juvenile Justice Administration at Wright College in Chicago, failure is when people involved in the justice system are left without the means to create a better future for themselves and their families. Across communities, those means can take many shapes. But here in Illinois, I see one glaring failure: the actual cost of justice, particularly for youth in the juvenile system. The juvenile fines and fees that burden young people and their families don’t enhance public safety—they fail as a measure for youth accountability and serve only to make youth more likely to reoffend.

As a committed member of Illinois’ law enforcement community interested in public safety and justice, I support the passage of SB1463 and its companion bill in the house, HB3120, and I hope other Illinoians will join me. Imposing harsh punishments on juveniles is an unfair and outdated practice that was never based on evidence and must be left behind.

In Illinois, “fine and fees” refer to administrative fees and financial penalties imposed by courts. The Juvenile Court Act of 1987 and other Illinois statutes set up a series of costs specifically for children and their families. But these costs have nothing to do with creating accountability or achieving victim restitution. The reality is a system that creates bigger barriers to youth rehabilitation.

These kids are likely still in school; they are unlikely to have jobs, and if they do, they have limited working hours and income. The system does not take into account their individual circumstances, and is, instead, designed for them to fail.

The new legislation is designed to streamline and simplify the juvenile justice process while reducing the cost for those involved by eliminating fines and fees in cases against minors. Right now, fines and fees can range from less than $50 to almost $1000 and add up quickly. These costs are higher in some counties than others. This legislation would address that problem and make justice equal across the state without undermining a judge’s ability to set victim restitution and order other non-financial conditions that focus on accountability and rehabilitation.

A 2016 study showed that financial penalties imposed on youth increased their risk of reoffending rather than acting as a deterrent. Unpaid debts have lifelong consequences that can impact job prospects, educational opportunities, and much more. Imposing debt on minors sets them up for continued failure and makes it increasingly difficult to change their circumstances without returning to criminal activity.

Passing this legislation won’t be a ‘get out of jail free’ card for youth and it won’t allow them to escape accountability for their actions. Instead, it will create space for new systems that are proven to increase public safety and improve outcomes for justice-involved youth. There are better options for rehabilitation and better ways for Illinois to spend money on the criminal justice system. In 2021, a study from the National Bureau of Economic Research showed that restorative justice programs for juvenile offenders reduced the probability of rearrest by 44%, while another study found that community-based interventions were not only more effective, but less costly to states. Better justice practices are possible, we owe it to young people to give them a better chance at success.

Not only are the policies bad for recidivism rates, but they are bad fiscal policy as well. The longer someone has criminal justice debt, the less likely it is to be collected. Comparing Illinois counties to counties in other states where juvenile court debt collection is relatively high, the courts there only collect about 4% of debt that is more than six months old; after three years, the debt is completely uncollectible. Illinois counties can’t rely on debt they may never collect to pay for the cost of the justice system. Even if they do collect, the actual revenue still won’t be enough to cover the resources used to administer the system: most small counties in Illinois take in less than $5,000 in juvenile justice costs every year. Juvenile fines and fees generate almost no revenue and the cost of collecting is often higher.

If passed, SB1463 will be applied automatically and retroactively, meaning that existing debts will be canceled and no new ones will be imposed on juveniles and their families. This will not be a loss of revenue for Illinois counties, instead it will be a way for those counties to better use its resources that would have been spent on debt collection.

Illinois must join the over 20 other states that have eliminated or reformed juvenile fines and fees. The system of fines and fees is causing youth offenders to fail and we as Illinoians are failing them by not working for change. This legislation, SB1463/HB3120, is a critical step for public safety and for creating better systems of justice for Illinois’ juvenile offenders.


Officer David Franco (Ret.) served with the Chicago Police Department for three decades since the early 1980's, focused on issues ranging from terrorist threats to abandoned property and everything in-between. He is currently an adjunct professor of Criminal Justice at Wright College in Chicago. He holds a BA from Northeastern Illinois University and a MPA from the Illinois Institute of Technology.


Illinois adults aren't getting enough sleep


During the pandemic sleep quality decreased and bedtime routines became less structured.
by Mark Richardson
Illinois News Connection
Illinois - More than three in 10 Illinois adults reported getting too few hours of sleep a night, which can contribute to poor job performance and health problems, according to America's Health Rankings.

Sleep experts say people ages 18 to 60 need between seven and nine hours of sleep per night to be healthy. Losing sleep has been linked to increasing rates of Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.

Dr. Ravi Johar, chief medical officer for United Healthcare, explained developing a consistent bedtime routine is critical for a good night's rest.

"That's something that's really important, just having a routine," Johar outlined. "Whether it's brushing your teeth, changing into pajamas. Doing some kind of activity before you go to sleep; yoga, listening to music, reading. Setting your alarm for the same time every day."

Statistics show 31% of Illinois adults get less than seven hours of sleep a night, just under the national average of 32%. There are also differences in race and gender. Among Black Illinois residents, 47% get too little sleep, compared to about 27% of white and Hispanic residents. Women get about 5% more sleep than men.

Johar emphasized it is also important to turn off laptops and phones a few hours before bed, because the blue light from screens suppresses the release of melatonin, which induces restful sleep. He also pointed out eating right before bed can trigger a cascade of events to throw off circadian rhythm and metabolism.

"Avoid eating large meals before bedtime," Johar advised. "Those can cause a lot of restless sleep and problems."

Johar added people experiencing prolonged issues with sleep need to see their doctor.

"Sometimes, there may be underlying medical problems that are making it difficult for you to sleep," Johar noted. "And the other thing that's really important that people don't realize is how much stress and behavioral health issues can factor into their sleep."

During the pandemic, while more people reported sleeping longer, sleep quality decreased and bedtime routines became less structured.


Spartans' 11 runs in the first three innings seals win over Comets

Adam Price playing first base

Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

St. Joseph-Ogden first baseman Adam Price looks the ball into his glove in a pick-off attempt on Reed-Custer's Connor Esparza, who made it back to the bag in time to avoid the out. Price led the Spartan offense in the 12-2 non-conference victory with three hits and four RBIs. The senior also crossed the plate twice for SJO. Price and four other seniors will be recognized for their contributions to the baseball program this Wednesday at 4pm before the start of their home game against the Braves of Mt. Zion. St. Joseph-Ogden and the five-senior squad begins regional play at home a week from this Wednesday, May 17 at Meier Field. The Spartans (24-7) will face the winner from Monday's first-round game between Hoopeston-Area and Bismarck-Henning-Rossville-Alvin.

Last month's abortion pill ruling was a 'Political Stunt'


Planned Parenthood strongly believes the electorate will ultimately decide the issue
by Mark Richardson
Illinois News Connection
Illinois - Women's health groups in Illinois and across the country are angered by a pair of federal court rulings last month on the abortion drug mifepristone.

A Texas judge's ruling rolled back the federal Food and Drug Administration's approval, effectively banning the drug.

The same day, a Washington State judge ruled the FDA must keep medication abortion drugs available in over a dozen Democratic-led states, including Illinois.

Everything is currently on hold while an appeals court sorts it out. Cristina Villarreal, chief of external affairs at Planned Parenthood of Illinois, said the Texas ruling was the result of "judge shopping" by anti-abortion groups.

"With the Texas case," said Villarreal, "it's kind of ridiculous that a judge in Texas can make decisions for people who can become pregnant in Illinois, where we have clearly said we support the right to choose."

Mifepristone was approved in 2000 by the FDA. The drug has been used by over 5 million patients.

However, in his ruling, Federal Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk suggests the FDA had not properly tested the drug and has ordered it off the market.

The U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year, essentially giving the power to states to regulate abortion access.

Since then, most "red" states have put restrictions on the procedure, while others have made abortions generally available.

Villarreal said Planned Parenthood strongly believes the electorate will ultimately decide the issue.

"In the ballot box, we've seen that voters are - again and again - trying to protect the right to choose," said Villarreal. "We know that the American public supports access to abortion care."

In the meantime, Villarreal said Planned Parenthood of Illinois will continue to offer all abortion-care options available.

Guest Commentary | The best gift for Mother's Day? Your time

by Glenn Mollette, Guest Commentator


You may have lost your mother early in life or never really knew your mother. My two sons were only 17 and 20 when their mother passed at the ae of 49 from multiple sclerosis. Mother’s Day is a tough day for them and many others around the world. This day may be very difficult for you.

My mother has also passed on but I remember her as one of the hardest working persons I’ve ever known. On Sunday and often during the week she loved getting dressed up and going to church. One of the greatest enjoyments of her life was singing in a gospel quartet with my dad and another lovely couple.

Eula Hinkle Mollette was just the best mom ever. Yes, I’m prejudiced of course.

Mom helped me with my homework. She washed and ironed my clothes. She put breakfast on the table for me every morning. She had something for me to eat every day when I came home from school. She read to me when I was a child and took care of me when I was sick. During the summer we would carry water from our nearby creek to wash clothes. Typically, we caught rain water in large tubs to wash our clothes but summer months often brought dry weather. We had lunch together every day during the summer break. Usually, it was a homemade sandwich and sometimes a candy bar from Grandpa Hinkle’s grocery store. I once wanted root beer and she said, “You won’t like it.” I debated that I would but I didn’t. I was stuck with the root beer.

She never hesitated to set me straight with a peach tree limb across my back side.

If she were alive today, I would try to make up for all the things I didn’t do or didn’t consider doing. I always had good intentions for all the things I might try to do for mom and dad but they slipped from this life before I had the opportunity.

Missed opportunities happen often to most of us. We have good intentions but often we don’t have the ability to act on those intentions. I’m envious of those who are able to do a lot for their moms and dads and wish that I could have done more.

However, so often what we can do are the simplest things that mean so much. Today, I don’t want my family to do anything for me but call me or visit me occasionally. A hug and some shared times are the most meaningful to me. Some good quality time is actually the best gift we can give to mom, dad or anyone.

Our time is fleeting for us all. To be generous with a visit, conversation and sharing of life is probably the most precious gift we can give.

Mother’s Day is coming. Set aside your best gift – your time.


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Dr. Glenn Mollette is a syndicated American columnist and author of Grandpa's Store, American Issues, and ten other books. He is read in all 50 states. The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily representative of any other group or organization.

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This article is the sole opinions of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Sentinel. We welcome comments and views from our readers. Submit your letters to the editor or commentary on a current event 24/7 to editor@oursentinel.com.


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Moving on: When it's time to break up with a friend?

Photo: Tyler Nix/Unsplash
"Sometimes letting go is the first step toward creating a stronger friendship circle."


Holding on to a friendship that you aren't genuinely interested in maintaining can lead to resentment.
Brandpoint - Friendships are an essential part of living a fulfilling life.

Charles and Viktor (both names changed to protect their identities) had been friends for over a decade. Drinking buddies and lacrosse teammates in college, they found jobs in the same city. With similar interests, they became close friends.

A few years before the 2020 election, Charles started to change. His political views became increasingly intolerable. Viktor's wife could no longer stand to be around Charles, as his misogynistic and racist comments were a source of constant disgust and discussion.

Just like any other relationship, some friends are only meant to be part of your life for a reason or a season, rather than a lifetime. The problem is, no one really talks about how to evaluate your friendships and let go of the ones that are no longer adding value to your life.

While an overwhelming majority (77%) of respondents in a recent Bumble For Friends survey* believe that friends are one of the main factors to a happy and healthy life, 42% have never intentionally evaluated the existing friendships in their lives, and 1 in 4 (25%) agree that they are stuck in outdated friendships that no longer serve them.

Danielle Bayard Jackson, Bumble For Friends’ friendship expert, shares her advice on how to intentionally assess your friendships so that you can find peace in letting go of the ones you’ve outgrown. She suggests starting by asking yourself these questions:

Does the friendship feel like an obligation?

Many people have circumstantial friendships, meaning relationships that are mostly based on convenience, such as taking the same classes or having the same hobbies. Bumble For Friends’ survey* found that 1 in 3 (35%) people have these kinds of friendships — they're common, and they add value to life by offering a certain kind of companionship. However, when these friendships become obligatory, meaning that you maintain them out of a sense of duty, it’s time to reassess.

Why are you maintaining the friendship?

It took almost a year for Charles and Viktor to go on their own separate ways. They would talk on holidays and occasionally do lunch a couple of times a year to catch up. Vicky was happy, and Viktor felt relieved he no longer had to endure his friend's ultra-right banter.

One of the most common reasons why people hold on to friendships that no longer serve them is that they feel they owe it to history. They may also feel scared that if they let a friendship go, they’ll have a hard time finding new friendships. If the reasons you’ve elected to keep a friendship don't include a value-add to your life, then it might be time to mend or end the relationship.

What is maintaining the friendship costing you?

Holding on to a friendship that you aren’t genuinely interested in maintaining can lead to resentment, as you’re investing time, energy and emotional bandwidth that you most likely can’t afford. It can also impact your other friendships, as you’re dedicating space that you could be using on friends that fill your cup. There are only so many hours in the day, so it’s important to focus on friendships that positively impact your life.

If you decide that it’s time to part ways with the friendship, Jackson recommends a three-step formula for approaching the conversation:

  • Show that you’re intentional about the decision. Say, “Listen, I’ve been thinking a lot lately….”
  • Address your needs without blaming the other person. Use ‘I’ statements as much as you can; rather than “you are never there for me when I need you...,” try saying, “I need friendships in my life that can prioritize and support me in times of need.”
  • Tell them how much you appreciate them and what your intention is for moving forward. This could be, “I have appreciated our friendship so much, and you have been such an integral part of my life. However, I won’t be able to show up in this friendship in the same way that I have before.”

“Sometimes letting go is the first step toward creating a stronger friendship circle,” says Jackson. “Ending a friendship that no longer fits doesn't make you mean or disloyal. Instead, it creates space for the both of you to be better positioned to invite new connections into your lives.”

If things have changed in your life and you feel like you've maybe outgrown a friendship, Jackson suggests intentionally doing things to form new friendships — whether that be joining group activities, asking friends of friends to tag along to their next event, or downloading Bumble For Friends, the friendship-finding mode on the Bumble app. By putting yourself out there, you’ll be on the right track to creating a stronger social circle around you.

For more expert advice on building (and maintaining) strong friendships, visit bumble.com/bff.


*Research was commissioned by Bumble and carried out online by Censuswide in February 2023 amongst a sample of more than 1,000 US adults who have either attended college or are currently in college.

Seventh inning smash seals Unity win over Quincy Notre Dame

QUINCY - It was even-Steven on the scoreboard at The Backyard, home field to the Raiders of Quincy Notre Dame. Tied at six-all at the top of the 7th inning, Unity's Sophia Beckett hovered over the plate as QND's Caitlyn Bunte hurled a strike past her. On the next pitch, Beckett stepped into the ball, pounding it over the center field wall for solo home run to put the Rockets up by one, 7-6.

The run was all Unity needed after a flawless defensive effort to hold the Raiders scoreless in the bottom of the final frame for their 20th win of the season.

Sophia Beckett
PhotoNews Media
Unity's Sophia Beckett makes a catch while playing first base during her team's non-conference home game against Cissna Park in April. Beckett delivered Saturday's road win over Quincy Notre Dame by way of a seventh-inning solo home run.

The victory marked Rockets' head coach Aimee Davis' fourth consecutive 20-win season.

Davis, who was unaware of the milestone, said this season has been about making progress.

"We had to figure out who could do what and who was going to make the plays down the stretch. Fortunately for us, we had quite a few players on our team last year and the year before that continue to do good things for us," Davis said. "Our senior class of Abbie Pieczynski, Reece Sarver, and Ashlyn Miller have been great teammates for us this season, really taking control of "their" squad."

Stacking 99 wins against 25 losses in the past four seasons and back-to-back trips to the Final Four, Davis has certainly built a winning culture at Unity. Like the school's football team, the diamond girls aren't rebuilding, they are now reloading every year.

"We have a great junior and sophomore class that have really stepped up to the occasion," Davis added. "Junior Ruby Tarr has been a three-year starter for us, which has helped us tremendously this year. Sophomores Jenna Adkins and Lindy Bates played varsity last year, so they know what is expected."

Unity opened the contest with a two-run lead from the get-go in the first inning and tacked on a third run at the top of the second. QND then answered with a three-run rally to knot the contest up at three-all.

After two scoreless innings, Unity put two more runs up. The first was courtesy of Beckett's line-drive double to center field, scoring courtesy runner Reagan Little, who entered the game for Sarver. Then Maddie Rothe put Bunte's first pitch in play with a hard ground ball to Raider shortstop Abbey Schreacke. Beckett raced from second to home plate, giving the Rockets a 5-3 advantage.

Notre Dame responded with two runs thanks to a two-out line drive from Logan Pieper plating runs from baserunners Amber Durst and Page Blivens.

Tied at five a piece, both teams added another run to their half of the scoreboard before Beckett's homerun shot.

"Ashlyn (Miller) and Lindy (Bates) have really put us in great positions to win on the mound," Davis said, praising her pitching staff. "They allow their defense to help them, and they can both contribute offensively- which is also a plus."

Davis and Rockets look to add another mark in the win column today when they host St. Thomas More in an Illini Prairie league game.

"We are playing well, and we are looking to continue that moving through the tail end of the season," Davis said. "Our grit and never-give-up attitude against Quincy Notre Dame was very nice to see. We are showing we can do it, we can win, and can compete with good teams."


New medication improves survival rate for people who have suffered a stroke


Up to 80% of strokes are preventable. Prevention goes back to what any doctor will tell you is key for a healthy life: control your blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes through diet and exercise.
by Tim Ditman
OSF Healthcare
URBANA - Nearly 800,000 Americans suffer a stroke each year.

Strokes can have life-altering consequences like vision, walking and swallowing difficulties. They also rank in the top five killers of Americans. For each minute a stroke goes untreated, the brain loses around 2 million cells it cannot recover.

"Getting to the hospital quickly – within four and a half hours of your onset of symptoms – is important," says Leslie Ingold, a registered nurse and stroke coordinator with OSF HealthCare.

A cutting-edge stroke drug recently rolled out at OSF HealthCare is already turning the tide for people.

Tenecteplase (TNKase ®) can be used in people experiencing a stroke and who meet certain criteria, such as a specific blood pressure, history of brain bleeds, medications taken at home and how quickly they arrived at the emergency department. TNKase is a clot-busting agent that stands to become the gold standard of this type of care, Ingold says.

"It has a lower cost. It’s something providers can mix much, much quicker," Ingold says. "And it’s given quickly in an IV push over five to 10 seconds, and we’re done."

TNKase also does a better job than its predecessor at finding and breaking up clots, and there’s a lower risk of bleeding.

"The quicker we can get oxygen flowing back into that brain tissue, the better recovery the person is going to have," Ingold says. B.E.F.A.S.T. infographic

Why it’s important

The most common type of stroke, an ischemic stroke (also sometimes called an embolic stroke), is when a clot forms and travels to the brain. When watching for one, remember the acronym B.E.F.A.S.T.

  • B is for balance: Watch for sudden loss of balance.
  • E is for eyes: Check for vision loss or eyes looking askew.
  • F is for face: Look for droopiness or an uneven smile.
  • A is for arm: Is one arm weak or numb?
  • S is for speech: Watch for slurred, slow speech or no speech. Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence.
  • T is for time. It’s the conclusion to the checklist. Time to call 9-1-1 if someone has these symptoms, even if they go away.
  • Another type of stroke, a hemorrhagic stroke, is when a blood vessel breaks and blood seeps into brain tissue. Ingold says hemorrhagic strokes are typically caused by a traumatic injury, like falling and hitting your head. Uncontrolled high blood pressure is also a cause.

    For either type, when you arrive at the hospital, a provider will take some pictures of your brain and decide the best treatment option.

    Prevention

    Up to 80% of strokes are preventable, Ingold says. Prevention goes back to what any doctor will tell you is key for a healthy life: control your blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes through diet and exercise. Avoid tobacco, alcohol and drugs. If you have an irregular heartbeat, known as atrial fibrillation, see your cardiologist regularly and follow their instructions. And get established with a primary care provider, too.

    Ingold says a stroke takes 3.75 years off a person’s life, on average. And if you have a stroke, you have a 25% chance of having another one.

    "We always tell people they really need to be on top of their treatment," Ingold says. "The signs and symptoms of a possible second stroke may not be the same as the first. In fact, they could be completely different. It just depends on what part of the brain the stroke affects."


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