Kane County state's attorney plans to keep 1st-time drug offender program
Kane County State's Attorney Joe McMahon said Tuesday that he plans to continue the pretrial diversion program for low-level, first-time felony drug offenders.
The program for felony drug offenders began 2012 and is separate from the county's Drug Court, which is an intensive, year-plus program aimed at breaking addictions.
Last year, the felony drug diversion program had 48 successful completions and five people who failed. Overall, 154 people have completed the program and 54 have failed for a cumulative success rate of 74 percent, according to the state's attorney's office's 2016 annual report.
"They strike the right balance between the carrot and the stick approach, helping people get the help they need (without a felony conviction)," McMahon said. "I'm going to continue it. I think it's been successful."
During his monthly meeting with the media Tuesday, McMahon reviewed several convictions of drug dealers who had pounds of cocaine, heroin and other controlled substances. Since taking office in late 2010, McMahon has stressed aggressive prosecutions of violent offenders and large-scale drug dealers.
He noted drugs brought into Kane County are rarely manufactured or produced here, and often are cut with other substances to be sold to more people. Interstates such as 88 and 90 make the county a thoroughfare for drugs going to Cook County and other states.
"By the time it hits the street, the purity rate is lower but the quantity of the drugs in the community that is ingested is greater," McMahon said.
The county's 34 police agencies seized more than $511,000 in assets used or produced through drug deals in 2016, according to McMahon.
"When you can strike at the wallets of large drug dealers, it hurts them. That's a tool I don't want to give up," he said.