Boot Camp was Improperly issued to certain offenders, but still remains a good alternative to those eligible

The Chicago Sun Times recently reported that individuals who had been issued boot camp in Cook County were actually not eligible for the program because they had been charged with what are deemed violent offenses. The program runs through the Cook County Sheriff's Vocational Rehabilitation Impact Center.

The story outlines that judges were not properly following the law when they allowed such sentences. It would appear that a more strenuous and diligent review of eligibility will become more common following this story. The Cook County Sheriff recently suspended the director of the program and other employees for not monitoring the inmates admitted to the program properly.

However, boot camp is still a good program and alternative sentence for individuals charged with committing a crime. It is a 4-month program that provides non-violent offenders with intensive discipline program. It included substance abuse treatment, training of vocational skills to help the inmates find jobs after the program, and counseling and job search help. After successful completion of the program there is an 8-month supervision program, during which time they return to the Center for more help from the program to help follow up on the skills taught.

In general, we don't agree with a law that would limit a judge's discretion to tailor a sentence to an individual defendant. Here there were clearly cases where a judge thought a defendant would benefit from boot camp even though he didn't qualify. We support judges looking at the facts of every single case and then deciding what is in that particular defendant's best interest. We fear that articles like this one by the Sun Times do more harm than good by touting the fact the paper "caught" judges missapplying the law, while what was really happening may have been judge's using their heads, rather than a rubber stamp, to tailor sentences. In some situations a minority of those defendants reoffended, but we still support letting a judge use their discretion rather than letting Springfield dictate what is right for a particular person.

Only a certain amount of offenders are eligible for this resolution to their case, and it is important to investigate with your attorney if you qualify and how to seek such a resolution. Here at The Toney Law Firm we will work with you to make sure you receive the best result for your case.

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