Domestic abuse study next after Kane diversion program shines

Posted5/11/2015 5:30 AM

A study shows the Kane County Pretrial Diversion program for first-time, nonviolent felony offenders is working, as only 8 percent of people who complete the program reoffend within three years.

Kane County State's Attorney Joe McMahon was pleased with the study's results, which were compiled with the help of Aurora University and the Illinois Criminal Justice Authority.


McMahon next wants to examine recidivism rates for people in the county's pretrial diversion program for first-time domestic violence offenders. No timeline has been set for that study.

The pretrial diversion program is for people who make a mistake and are given a second chance so they're not branded as a felon for life.

Some key differences are that domestic abuse is a learned behavior and likely happened more than once before the offender was arrested. Furthermore, not all victims report crimes, which presents another challenge to measuring recidivism.

The county's pretrial diversion program for first-time felony offenders seemed to have a positive effect, since nearly 81 percent who finished the program did not reoffend within three years, compared to a 40 percent to 60 percent recidivism rate for people in traditional court settings.

McMahon pointed to broad support from law enforcement, judges and defense attorneys for the program's success.

McHenry County State's Attorney Lou Bianchi said he modeled his office's First Offender program after Kane's diversion program, which began in 1995.

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"To no surprise, the study showed a significant decrease in recidivism," Bianchi said. "Our congratulations to Kane County and the others who have similar programs. It gives first offenders a second chance, and further, it's the right thing to do."

St. Charles youth academy

The St. Charles Police Department hosts its third annual Youth Police Academy June 15 to 19.

The academy is open to children ages 13 to 16, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day.

The academy's purpose is to highlight careers in police and fire protection and will cover topics ranging from becoming a police officer or crime scene evidence technician to self-defense and Internet safety.

Funding from the St. Charles Youth Commission will allow each participant to earn a CPR certification.

The class is limited to 25 participants who must be residents of St. Charles or students in St. Charles District 303.

Registration packets are at the police department, St. Charles North and East high schools, and the main offices at Wredling, Thompson and Haines middle schools.

The deadline is June 5. Call Officer Bill Tynan at (630) 443-3847 or email

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