SPRINGFIELD, IL - Cook County State’s Attorney Kimberly M. Foxx spoke at a rally today organized by crime survivors in Springfield, Illinois, where survivors emphasized the need throughout the state for more trauma recovery centers where survivors can receive an array of critically important services.
“We have an opportunity to take an important step, to make sure that, as crime survivors, we get the necessary and sustained resources that we need to heal and succeed,” State’s Attorney Foxx said. “We need resources to identify and support the needs of crime survivors, including housing, food, transportation; and mental health treatment; trauma-informed and survivor-centered services; and financial assistance to help protect survivors from the financial losses we endure.”
Nearly one in three state residents have been victimized in the past decade, with more than half of these survivors experiencing violence, a recent survey from the Alliance for Safety and Justice found. The survey also found that an alarming number of victims are not supported by the criminal justice system, with crime survivors experiencing significant challenges in recovery and healing. Seven in 10 reported experiencing at least one symptom of trauma, fewer than half of crime victims in the state receive help from the police and only two in 10 have historically received help from the local prosecutor.
Trauma recovery centers are a critical resource for crime survivors offering a comprehensive set of services including counseling, legal assistance, and access to support groups. Currently, Illinois only has two such clinics, both of which recently opened.
Despite assumptions that all victims support lengthy sentences and expansion of the use of incarceration as a remedy for crime, the survey also found that seven in 10 victims in Illinois prefer a far more balanced approach to public safety — fairer prison sentences and greater investments in crime prevention, rehabilitation, schools and education, mental health and drug treatment, and trauma recovery services for victims to help stop cycles of violence and crime. Crime survivors also strongly support reforms to the criminal justice system and a new approach to public safety.
“Our ability to create a safer Illinois for everyone requires a transformation of the way we spend our resources and in how we think about cycles of crime and violence,” Foxx said. “Rather than focusing solely on incarceration, we need more accountability. Rather than building more prisons, we need more of a focus on prevention and rehabilitation. We know that people who commit harm and those who are harmed live in the same families and even in the same bodies. We know that when we address trauma, when we focus on prevention and rehabilitation, and when we provide the tools and opportunities for people to make themselves and their communities stronger, that is when and that is how we make Illinois safer for all us.”
There is bipartisan consensus that Illinois' prison population has more than quadrupled over the last 30 years, driven by longer sentences, limited rehabilitation efforts during incarceration, and systemic barriers to successful reentry into the community after a person has served their time. This has resulted in overcrowded prisons, high recidivism rates, squandering of resources, and a scarcity of support for victims of crime.