WBEZ | dennis reboletti http://www.wbez.org/tags/dennis-reboletti Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en No more boot camp at Cook County Jail? http://www.wbez.org/news/no-more-boot-camp-cook-county-jail-109571 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Cook County Jail Holding Cell.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Two Illinois state legislators are seeking to eliminate the boot camp at the Cook County Jail, but research has shown it&rsquo;s an effective program.&nbsp; That research, however, is 7 years old.</p><p>The push by Illinois Reps. Dennis Reboletti and Mike Zalewski to eliminate the boot camp comes in the wake of a Chicago Sun-Times series showing judges have been improperly sentencing violent offenders to the boot camp.</p><p>Boot camp is a four-month program for offenders, based on military-style exercise and training followed by eight months of supervision with services like job training.</p><p>&ldquo;Having people statutorily ineligible was a problem,&rdquo; said Cara Smith, executive director of the Cook County Department of Corrections, &ldquo;but we&rsquo;ve addressed that.&rdquo;</p><p>Smith said the sheriff asked judges to take another look at people who had been sentenced to the boot camp, and people who should not have been there were weeded out.</p><p>&ldquo;Could any program be improved and modified?&nbsp; Yes,&rdquo; said David Olson, a criminologist at Loyola University Chicago. &ldquo;Are programs like boot camps completely useless?&nbsp; No.&rdquo;</p><p>Olson conducted a study of the boot camp in 2007 that found 28 percent of the boot camp graduates were rearrested within 8 months. That compares to a 49 percent rearrest rate for similar offenders who went to prison. Olson wonders, if you cut the boot camp and send those people to prison, &ldquo;Will the outcomes be better, or will we just have a better feeling in our gut that we&rsquo;re imposing a more punitive sanction?&rdquo;</p><p>The boot camp has also been criticized because one graduate, Bryon Champ, was involved in a shooting in a Chicago park last year in which 13 people were injured.&nbsp; Olson says yes, people have gone through the boot camp and then re-offended, but he says when people come out of prison and re-offend we don&rsquo;t talk about shutting down prisons.</p><p>John Maki with the prison watchdog John Howard Association points out that Olson&rsquo;s study is now 7 years old.&nbsp; Maki says if the boot camp is shown to still be effective it should be saved, but given the recent news stories there are real questions about how it&rsquo;s being run.</p><p>Cara Smith with the jail says they&rsquo;ve done a lot to reform the program.&nbsp; &ldquo;We&rsquo;re certainly not at the point where we think this program has to go,&rdquo; said Smith.</p><p>Rep. Zalewski said &ldquo;the recent anecdotal data is it&rsquo;s (the boot camp) not working.&rdquo;&nbsp; However Zalewski said the proposal to eliminate it will at least force a debate about its effectiveness.</p></p> Fri, 24 Jan 2014 15:21:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/no-more-boot-camp-cook-county-jail-109571 Proposal to ban private detention centers stumbles http://www.wbez.org/news/proposal-ban-private-detention-centers-stumbles-99719 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Dennis_RebolettiCROPPEDSCALED.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px; float: left; width: 211px; height: 323px;" title="Illinois Rep. Dennis Reboletti, R- Elmhurst, argues against the bill on the House floor Thursday. (AP/Seth Perlman)" /></div><p><em>Updated Friday, June 1, at 12:30 a.m.</em></p><p>A bill that would have blocked an immigrant detention center near Chicago failed Thursday in a series of close Illinois House floor votes as lawmakers raced to adjourn for the summer.</p><p>Parliamentary moves by the bill&rsquo;s chief sponsor, Rep. Edward Acevedo (D-Chicago), kept the bill alive late into the evening. In one roll call, the measure came within one vote of the 60 needed for passage. A 57-58 roll call, with two members voting present, defeated the bill.</p><p>The legislation would have banned government agencies at the local and state levels from contracting with private firms to build or run civil detention centers. It would have thwarted a proposal for Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America to construct and operate a 788-bed facility in the village of Crete, a suburb 30 miles south of Chicago. The facility would hold detainees for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.</p><p>Sen. Antonio Munoz (D-Chicago) pushed the bill, <a href="http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocNum=1064&amp;GAID=11&amp;DocTypeID=SB&amp;SessionID=84&amp;GA=97">SB1064</a>, through the Senate in March. Gov. Pat Quinn&rsquo;s office said he would sign the measure if it reached his desk.&nbsp;</p><p>As the House took it up, however, Springfield-based Dorgan-McPike &amp; Associates lobbied hard for CCA. Other opposition to the measure came from immigration enforcement proponents and building-trades unions eager for the Crete project&rsquo;s construction jobs.</p><p>The bill&rsquo;s supporters countered with an amendment aimed at winning votes from downstate representatives. The amendment would have allowed Tri-County Justice and Detention Center to keep its private operator, Paladin Eastside Psychological Services. That facility, located in Ullin, holds ICE detainees.</p><p>During a 25-minute House floor debate on the bill Thursday afternoon, Acevedo pointed out that the Crete construction jobs would be temporary and that the project&rsquo;s permanent jobs could come at the expense of facilities that hold ICE detainees in other parts of Illinois.</p><p>&ldquo;The people of Crete, who you would think would be the most eager for these jobs, overwhelmingly do not want this facility,&rdquo; Acevedo said. &ldquo;They see the facility will place huge burdens on the community &mdash; traffic, police and other costs &mdash; as well as abuse that a private prison company could bring.&rdquo;</p><p>Acevedo pointed to a deadly riot this month at CCA-operated Adams County Correctional Facility in Natchez, Mississippi.</p><p>But Rep. Dennis Reboletti (R-Elmhurst) brought up Indiana, an Illinois neighbor that allows CCA to operate a county jail in Indianapolis. &ldquo;Isn&rsquo;t it possible that if we do pass this law that this company could simply go into Indiana &mdash; locate the same facility and house the same detainees we would in Crete &mdash; just across the border?&rdquo;</p><p>A written statement from CCA spokesman Mike Machak called the bill&rsquo;s failure &ldquo;an important step in realizing the Obama administration&rsquo;s vision for detention, which provides detainees awaiting civil proceedings with a humane and appropriate environment.&rdquo;</p><p>The bill&rsquo;s supporters offered a different interpretation. &ldquo;This was a David and Goliath fight,&rdquo; Lawrence Benito, executive director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, said in a statement. &ldquo;Though we were able to add new Republican votes, many Democrats showed deep disrespect for the immigrant families in their own districts.&rdquo;</p><p>Crete officials have yet to approve the detention center but have touted the jobs potential. They have also talked up expected taxes and per-detainee payments for the village.</p></p> Thu, 31 May 2012 17:48:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/proposal-ban-private-detention-centers-stumbles-99719 Redistricting no mystery to General Assembly scientist http://www.wbez.org/story/redistricting-no-mystery-general-assembly-scientist-89790 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-July/2011-07-28/mike fortner.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois Republicans are fighting in court against a new map of state legislative districts. And they've been relying on a physics professor for expertise in crunching the numbers. It helps that Professor Mike Fortner&nbsp; is also a colleague--a fellow lawmaker in the Illinois General Assembly.</p><p>If you close your eyes and imagine what a physics professor looks like, you might picture Mike Fortner.</p><p>It’s a&nbsp;sweltering afternoon at Northern Illinois University, and &nbsp;Professor Fortner, in a wrinkled shirt and glasses, is talking physics. Even his students wouldn’t guess he’s also a politician.</p><p>"He just seems like the straight-laced professor," one student said.</p><p>Fortner is one of 54 Republicans in the Illinois House. He’s the only scientist -- a numbers junkie surrounded by attorneys and business owners.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>His colleagues have depended on him more than usual this year – not because he’s an expert on particle collision, which he is – but because he’s an expert on redistricting.</p><p>"Mike is our party’s go to person in the caucus. He has a mind that thrives on mathematics and he enjoys that type of challenge, and I think that shows in the redistricting process," said state Rep. Dennis Reboletti (R-Elmhurst), one of Fornter's colleagues and a friend.</p><p>Their party filed a lawsuit recently challenging the new General Assembly map. They filed a separate lawsuit Wednesday against the congressional map. District boundaries change every 10 years based on population shifts.&nbsp; The party in control, in this case the Democrats, gets to decide where the new lines are drawn.</p><p>For Fortner, redistricting is where his worlds of politics and science converge.</p><p>"Obviously, it involves a lot of numbers. A lot of numeric data and being able to manipulate large volumes of numbers is something I do in my research and working as a physicist as well," Fortner said.</p><p>He showed that systematic approach during hearings this spring, quizzing Democratic Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie &nbsp;for hours about her party’s map proposal.</p><p>"He was using the playbook he was given, and that’s fair," Currie said. "I don’t think he laid a glove on our expert witness but I certainly understand why he was anxious to try to do so."</p><p>Fortner first got involved in politics in his home town of West Chicago.More than 20 years ago, he and his wife bought a house built in the 1800s. Fortner volunteered to serve on the town’s historic preservation committee. From there, he followed the path many politicians do: He served on a school board, followed by the city council and then in&nbsp;2001, he was elected mayor of West Chicago. Six years into that job, he ran for state representative.</p><p>One thing he’s heard over the years is that he doesn’t seem like a politician.</p><p>"I’ve had a lot of people mention that," he said. "I think they’re not used to scientists and physicist in particular being active in politics. They still don’t expect it. I think they picture all politicians are lawyers."</p><p>Lots of politicians are lawyers, but in the General Assembly they’re also farmers, teachers – even an embalmer.</p><p>When he’s not in Springfield or at the university, Fortner might be in Batavia at Fermilab hovering over a microscope.</p><p>"We were in my office one day after many of these hearings and I said&nbsp; what do you do for a hobby? And he looked at me and said that redistricting was actually a hobby for him," Reboletti said.</p><p>A couple years ago, Fortner entered a contest organized by good government groups in Ohio to redraw districts there.</p><p>He spent his weekends working on it. He won</p><p>"I got a nice certificate from Secretary of State Brunner," Fortner said.</p><p>The map he helped Illinois Republicans draw this year is part of the state redistricting lawsuit now making its way through court. His map also was in bill form this spring. It was sent straight to the Rules Committee, where House Speaker Michael Madigan is in charge.</p><p>There, it promptly died.</p></p> Fri, 29 Jul 2011 10:48:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/redistricting-no-mystery-general-assembly-scientist-89790 Medical marijuana bill fails in Illinois House http://www.wbez.org/story/dennis-reboletti/medical-marijuana-bill-fails-illinois-house <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/cityroom_20090304_cr_1634108_Medi_large.png" alt="" /><p><p>Legislation to legalize medial marijuana failed to pass Tuesday in the Illinois House.<br /><br />The bill's sponsor, state Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie), said the bill offers patients who have run out of options a chance to keep food down and relieve pain.<br /><br />&quot;Which one of us would say to our parent, 'Sorry, mom. Sorry, dad. You can't have this product, because I have a problem with it politically?'&quot; Lang asked in the House chamber.</p><p>As expected on such a controversial and closely watched topic, heated rhetoric was employed by both sides.<br /><br />&quot;It's almost tantamount to looking at heroin, and saying, 'Well, these pain pills aren't working, so I think we should legalize heroin because it's more powerful than the medication than I can get from my doctor,'&quot; said state Rep. Dennis Reboletti (R-Elmhurst).<br /><br />With the bill a few votes short, Lang moved to postpone its consideration. That allows him to call it for another vote later in the veto session.</p></p> Tue, 30 Nov 2010 20:51:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/dennis-reboletti/medical-marijuana-bill-fails-illinois-house