WINNEBAGO COUNTY, Ill. (WIFR) - - For first-time, non-violent offenders, the deferred prosecution program could mean a second chance. It keeps a conviction from being permanently entered on their record.
"The States Attorney's Office pays for that program,” said Representative Maurice West. “It's $500 per offender. If you have $500 you can go through the deferred prosecution program, and keep your record clean. If you don't have the 500 dollars, you can't go through the program to keep your record clean."
"What we learned is that there are many financial barriers which restrict individuals who are otherwise eligible to go into the program. We are hoping that the state will supply grant funding for those individuals,” said Winnebago County State's Attorney Marilyn Hite-Ross.
Hite-ross and West appeared Monday before a state appropriations and judiciary committee in a plea for those grants. Hite-Ross says the grant will help more people across the state stay out of jail and on the road to a more productive life.
"Approximately 500 individuals have gone through the program and we have only had 14 who have reoffended. So, clearly the results speak for themselves." "This is more than a second chance for these individuals this is a chance for a new beginning and an investment in people's lives,” said Hite-Ross.