Funding to help Winnebago County criminal justice initiatives

If accepted, Winnebago County would receive a $1.2 million grant from the federal government
The Center receives a tentative $1.2 million grant from Representative Cheri Bustos
The Center receives a tentative $1.2 million grant from Representative Cheri Bustos
Published: Dec. 13, 2021 at 10:21 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Violent crime is up 5% in Winnebago County since 2020 and a $1.2 million grant from the federal government could help bring those rates down.

U.S. Representative Cheri Bustos (D-17th District) announced the grant Monday. It still needs approval from the U.S. Department of Justice and the Winnebago County Board.

County leaders say the money could help expand services at the Resource Intervention Center and the Project Safe Neighborhoods program. Some of the funds will be used for improvements to the Winnebago County Juvenile Detention Center.

“This will offer partner interviews and abuse intervention programs, as well as Thinking 4 Change, which is cognitive behavioral therapy,” said Marlana Dokken, director of the Chairman’s Office of Criminal Justice Initiatives.

Debbie Jarvis, director of court services for the 17th Judicial Circuit, says the Thinking 4 Change will “help people with their thought patterns and their thinking errors that might lead to further criminal behavior. So, we’re trying to change those thoughts to lead to different behavior.”

The money will also allow Winnebago County to focus on current incarceration projects, like improving safety measures at its juvenile detention center.

Jarvis says it could target “prison rape elimination. So, what we’re doing is trying to make sure our facility is top-notch and that we’re being as safe as we can for those youth.”

The rest of the money will go toward efforts to crack down on the gun trafficking rates while also developing gang-intervention programs. The county will work with the Northern District of Illinois Project Safe Neighborhoods Task Force on that.

The full plan can be found here

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