Engagement and Transparency

The criminal justice system doesn’t operate in a vacuum. Communities across the County care deeply about the work of the Office of the State’s Attorney, and its perceived fairness, or lack thereof. For too many communities, the work of the Office has been a mystery, and profound distrust of the system is exacerbated by, and contributes to, low clearance rates for some of our most violent crimes. To serve the interests of justice and promote public safety, the State’s Attorney will work to improve transparency; and establish a culture of trust and communication between residents and the Office that will reduce crime and increase clearance rates. To achieve this, the Office will:

• Understand and acknowledge the importance of connection to community and respectful relationships with all the various stakeholders in the justice system— including victims, witnesses, family members, and those accused of crimes—and adopt practices that specifically prioritize and cultivate that respect.

• Develop and implement strategies for the office to regularly engage and communicate with communities around the County, including through community forums, annual reports, and partnerships with other criminal justice stakeholders.

• Lead collaborative, system-wide efforts with other justice system partners to address challenges in the justice system and develop thoughtful, evidence-informed mechanisms for addressing those challenges.

• Design ways for various stakeholders to communicate with the Office, to ensure that communication between the office and communities is a two-way street.

• Improve data collection and transparency in the Office, to provide employees, parties, academic institutions, the media, and Cook County residents with access to information on key issues related to prosecution, diversion, racial and gender impacts of enforcement efforts, and other critical issues.