WBEZ | criminal justice http://www.wbez.org/tags/criminal-justice Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Teens learning radio skills in Chicago police program http://www.wbez.org/news/teens-learning-radio-skills-chicago-police-program-109447 <p><p>A pair of police officers on Chicago&rsquo;s South Side are helping teens learn radio production in an effort to keep them off the streets and improve their views on cops.</p><p>The program in the Englewood neighborhood fits with a push by Chicago Police Department Superintendent Garry McCarthy to improve the relationship between police officers and the people they serve.</p><p>It is called the 7th District Youth Anti-Violence Media Program. It introduces teens to the ins and outs of radio production, and gives them a chance to get on the air.</p><p>The classes are held three days a week at Kennedy-King College. The broadcasting instructors there pitch in to teach the kids.</p><p>The program was started by Daliah Goree-Pruitt and Claudette Knight, both community policing (or CAPS) officers. The two started out as beat cops. Now they are in charge of neighborhood outreach, counseling crime victims, and running community meetings &nbsp;in a neighborhood struggling with some of the highest crime rates in the city.</p><p>The two had a lot to do already. Knight and Goree-Pruitt also do a weekly food give-away and hand out turkeys before Thanksgiving. On the Saturday before Christmas, they gave away toys at the station house located at 1438 W. 63rd Street.</p><p>But 7th District Deputy Chief Leo Schmitz came to them last spring with a new task.</p><p>&ldquo;He was like, &lsquo;Think of something that we can do for the kids,&rsquo;&rdquo; Goree-Pruitt said.</p><p>Schmitz was worried about the summer then coming up, when hot temperatures and idle teens could contribute to a spike in violent crime.</p><p>Knight said they wanted to do something new.</p><p>&ldquo;You know, something different, some other added activity because you always hear basketball, baseball, but not all kids are sports-inclined,&rdquo; Knight said.</p><p>They wanted to do a swim program, but they could not get the funding. Goree-Pruitt said the only thing the department had money for was t-shirts for the participants. So Goree-Pruitt and Knight needed partners.</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/CAPS%202%20%281%29.jpg" style="height: 272px; width: 350px; float: right;" title="Jamar Houston of WKKC teaches Jermaine Robinson how to DJ. (WBEZ/Patrick Smith)" /></div><p>Kennedy-King College, about a mile west of the 7th District station, has a broadcasting department and its own radio station, WKKC. Knight said it was the &ldquo;perfect opportunity.&rdquo; They approached the college and got the OK.</p><p>So all they needed were students. This turned out to not be easy. The two went personally to high school principals in the area, asking them to recommend students for the program&hellip; and they got almost no response. Then they asked area pastors - again, nothing.</p><p>So Goree-Pruitt and Knight just started approaching random kids on the street and around the neighborhood.</p><p>That&rsquo;s how Genavie Clark heard about it.</p><p>&ldquo;One day [I was] sitting in Dunkin&rsquo; Donuts, and all the officers were sitting in Dunkin&rsquo; Donuts, and Officer Goree came up to my table and she told us about the radio program. So I signed up for it,&rdquo; Genavie said.</p><p>Ultimately, the two got 20 teens of high school age for that first summer class, and it went so well they did a smaller after-school version this fall.</p><p>The program gets by mostly on the power of Goree-Pruitt and Knight&rsquo;s charisma, which is considerable. But these two career cops know nothing about radio production, and they do not have any money to pay instructors.</p><p>So the students learn mostly by observing WKKC in action.</p><p>The kids are exposed to a lot of the skills that go into producing a radio show: hosting, logging tape, mixing audio - even DJ-ing.</p><p>Station manager Dennis Snipe comes in every once in awhile to talk to the students about diction and public speaking, the assistant program director lets them look over her shoulder while she logs tape, and the hosts give them pointers during music breaks.</p><p>The summer classes were from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., so the students had to be fed. The owner of a shopping plaza across the street from the station donated Subway sandwiches.</p><p>So it&rsquo;s a nice story. But at first glance, none of it seems much like police work.</p><p>Knight disagrees.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s all about community interaction, because the youth especially, most of their interaction with the police is negative. So if you start introducing a positive interaction at a teenage level, then they start to view us in a different way,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>WBEZ ran a story on Dec. 23 about <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/8000-chicago-cops-now-little-friendlier-109425">police legitimacy training: thousands of Chicago cops re-learning how to best interact with the people they serve.</a></p><p>Efforts such as the radio program and legitimacy training fit with Superintendent McCarthy&rsquo;s priority on what he calls a return to community policing.</p><p>A recent study by Yale criminologist Andrew Papachristos found that Chicago in 2013 has had its lowest violent-crime rate in the past three decades. McCarthy credits community policing with a decrease in crime.</p><p>Goree-Pruitt believes it&rsquo;s part of her job to connect with people.</p><p>&ldquo;I feel like I can help these kids. I may not help all of them, but the ones that I can help, they&rsquo;ll know the police department just don&rsquo;t lock kids up,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Besides teaching them how to produce a radio show and to like cops, the officers use the class as a way to help the students deal with their own issues. They talk to the students about resolving conflicts, safe sex, and staying out of trouble.</p><p>Before they start the radio lessons, the students gather around a round table in a small windowless room across from the WKKC studios.</p><p>One of the girls is talking to Goree-Pruitt about problems she is having with her stepmom. She says her dad is getting a divorce, and he blames her.</p><p>Goree-Pruitt councils her on being the mature one, even though her stepmom is the adult.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve had the same issues, having two parents to living with just my mom, to my mom getting remarried, to my mom getting rid of all four of her daughters to be with this new husband, to my dad raising four daughters by himself. So I am no different from you all. Like I tell you all, because we&rsquo;re the police doesn&rsquo;t mean that we&rsquo;re not human,&rdquo; Goree-Pruitt told them.</p><p>Goree-Pruitt and Knight look tougher than they sound, and they both spent time on the beat, dealing with high-stress situations. But they also have families of their own, so maybe it is not surprising that they connect so well with teens.</p><p>&ldquo;When I come here it just, all my stress just goes away,&rdquo; freshman Wattsita Henley said.</p><p>The fall class, which ended earlier this month, was five high schoolers, three girls and two boys, and most did not seem like the types police really need to worry about.</p><p>Freshman James Cross Jr. said the closest he has ever gotten to drugs is seeing weed in a bag at school.</p><p>&ldquo;One of my friends showed me a bag, and I don&rsquo;t know why but I just started laughing,&rdquo; James &nbsp;told the group.</p><p>The other boy, Jermaine Robinson, has gotten into some trouble in the past.</p><p>He left Englewood to live with his grandmother in suburban Hazel Crest for a few years. &nbsp;He said he came back because it was just too quiet out there.</p><p>Robinson is about to start at Winnie Mandela, an alternative high school in the South Shore neighborhood.</p><p>He likes working with his hands, so he is trying to learn how to DJ.</p><p>His ultimate goal is to be a computer engineer.</p><p>&ldquo;Because like, when I was in 5th grade we did a program, and I earned a computer and I was taking it apart and putting it back together and stuff like that,&rdquo; Jermaine said.</p><p>Goree-Pruitt said she is not worried about what type of kids they are reaching, adding that she is just glad to be reaching any.</p><p>&ldquo; All I can say is that you touch one you reach another one, because they&rsquo;ll tell, they&rsquo;ll tell their friends.&rdquo;</p><p>The next radio class starts in January.</p><p>Patrick Smith is a WBEZ producer and reporter. Follow him <a href="https://twitter.com/pksmid">@pksmid</a>.</p></p> Fri, 27 Dec 2013 14:49:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/teens-learning-radio-skills-chicago-police-program-109447 James Kluppelberg's new home http://www.wbez.org/series/exoneree-diaries/james-kluppelbergs-new-home-109380 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/james_0_0_0.png" alt="" /><p><p><em>&ldquo;My kids grew up without me. I came out, they were grown. They had kids of their own. Now it&rsquo;s just like starting all over again.&rdquo;</em></p><p>&ldquo;DO YOU KNOW who this is?&rdquo; James said into the phone.</p><p>James Jr. was on the job when his dad called. He had reached out to the lawyers after seeing the story about James&rsquo; release on the news.</p><p>&ldquo;Yeah, you know,&rdquo; James Jr. answered, laughing slightly. Of course.</p><p>He was telling him he was working and wouldn&rsquo;t be able to talk too long when a supervisor urged him to take the call.</p><p>James Jr. took a break.</p><p>He asked how James&rsquo; night had been and when he could see him. James&rsquo; schedule was pretty open.</p><p>That evening, at the WGN-News studio in Chicago, James Jr. arrived where his dad was to be interviewed.</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s someone here who looks just like you,&rdquo; someone on the news crew told him.</p><p>AFTER THE INTERVIEW, they met back at the lawyers&rsquo; office, driving separately. Another news interview was on deck. James Jr. waited.</p><p>He began to wonder how his dad was going to make it with only $14 and some change in his pocket. The lawyers planned to put him up at the Holiday Inn for about a week and were looking into some halfway houses &ndash; but no luck.</p><p>After the media left, James Jr. thought it best to take his dad to Kmart for the basics: jeans, shirts, belt, watch, wallet and sunglasses. Things a man needs to get by.</p><p>Next on the list: a steak dinner.</p><p>&ldquo;Give me a rare piece of meat and I&rsquo;m a happy man,&rdquo; James says.</p><p>As they talked, in a sense it felt as though they had never been robbed of 23 years. As though it was just a father and son grabbing a bite.</p><p>&ldquo;We just connected back that quickly,&rdquo; James says. &ldquo;It really was awesome to have that happen without all the awkwardness that you would think would come with something like that.&rdquo;</p><p>James Jr. dropped him off at the hotel in the early morning hours after a long night of catching up. He&rsquo;d pick him up the next morning to meet his two granddaughters for the first time.</p><p>&ldquo;HE&rsquo;S NOT GOING to be able to stay at that hotel,&rdquo; James Jr. told his wife Felicia when he got home.</p><p>The young couple had met as 15-year-olds on Chicago&rsquo;s Southwest side, around 33rd and Western.</p><p>Two years later, they had their first daughter Melanie. Another two years and they were married, moving to Indiana, ready to leave the city and its risks behind them. Felicia remembers not being able to walk around her neighborhood without being whistled at, starting around age 12.</p><p>&ldquo;The gangs started getting really bad,&rdquo; Felicia says. &ldquo;The schools aren&rsquo;t good.&rdquo;</p><p>Their three-bedroom house in Merrillville, Ind., was small and cozy. They didn&rsquo;t have a dining room, and one of the bedrooms was a tight squeeze. But it was home to the budding family.</p><p>When Felicia asked what her husband thought about asking James to come live with them, she knew he might be against it. The couple had once opened their home to James Jr.&rsquo;s mother, Dawn, and the relationship went sour.</p><p>&ldquo;She robbed us, she was doing drugs,&rdquo; James Jr. says. &ldquo;Told her she&rsquo;d only be able to say if she was clean.&rdquo;</p><p>Their estrangement had added to the pain of her passing just before James was let out.</p><p>Felicia thought they should at least give the guy a chance. &ldquo;Family to us is a lot. It&rsquo;s everything to us.&rdquo;</p><p>JAMES JR. WAS MULLING it over when he picked up his dad the next day to meet his kids.</p><p>When they walked in the door, two big-eyed little girls, 10-year-old Melanie and 4-year-old Rylie, ran to James and hugged him.</p><p>James was stunned at the welcome.</p><p>&ldquo;That melted his heart,&rdquo; Felicia remembers.</p><p>On the agenda was a birthday party for a friend&rsquo;s baby. James joined them, though he wasn&rsquo;t feeling too comfortable around people.</p><p>&ldquo;Here I am being introduced to my granddaughters for the first time, and then on top of that, I&rsquo;m being sent to a birthday party with total strangers. A bunch of them,&rdquo; James says.</p><p>He toughed out the nerves, reeling at times, and ended up staying the weekend.</p><p>When James Jr. dropped his dad off on his way into work Monday, he had given it enough thought.</p><p>&ldquo;So I know you&rsquo;re not going to have a place to stay after the hotel,&rdquo; James Jr. said, backing into the question. &ldquo;Do you want to come stay with us?&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;That would be great,&rdquo; James told his son. He felt humbled. &ldquo;Very, very, very humbled.&rdquo;</p><p>A FEW DAYS LATER, James Jr. pulled into the Holiday Inn for the last time. James didn&rsquo;t have much to his name, except for about a half dozen heavy file boxes full of case documents that he&rsquo;d accumulated in prison. They got a cart from the front desk and loaded them into the car.</p><p>Back in Merrillville, James Jr. and Felicia had prepared for his arrival, moving their daughters out of their bedroom to a small front space that they had been using as a computer room. James would sleep in their room. The girls would be fine, and it was only temporary. Just until they could get James his own bed.</p><p>&ldquo;Definitely a girly girl room,&rdquo; he recalls.</p><p>With a roof over his head and his family nearby, James slept in his granddaughters&rsquo; bunk bed. His new home came with pink Tinkerbell sheets.</p></p> Mon, 16 Dec 2013 11:04:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/exoneree-diaries/james-kluppelbergs-new-home-109380 Chapter 5: Antione's pay day http://www.wbez.org/series/exoneree-diaries/chapter-5-antiones-pay-day-109281 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/antione_0 (1).png" alt="" /><p><p><em>&quot;There&#39;s a lot of pressure. It&#39;s phony. It&#39;s not real. People think you going to shower them with gifts and all these things. It&#39;s dangerous.&quot;</em></p><p>HOWARD JOSEPH, the real estate attorney who helped Antione win his freedom in 2002, wasn&rsquo;t finished with his case.</p><p>&ldquo;When I get him out, we&rsquo;re going to sue the city for millions of dollars,&rdquo; Mr. Joseph had told his son Rick.</p><p>Thirty-four days after Antione walked out of Cook County Jail, Mr. Joseph filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Chicago and two police officers, alleging that they conspired to have Antione picked out of a lineup by coaching an eyewitness to identify him. Mr. Joseph also tried to hold them responsible for allegedly preventing another eyewitness, who could have cleared Antione as not being present at the shooting, from testifying at the trial. The third claim: Police had falsely arrested Antione under Illinois law because they lacked a warrant and probable cause.</p><p>Mr. Joseph was a few months shy of 77 when he filed the civil suit. He had moved his law practice from its Lakeview neighborhood office on Broadway to a spot on Lincoln further north. His office was full of antiques, furniture he had brought back to life over the years, having spent many weekends refinishing them in his garage.&nbsp;</p><p>Antione helped him clean and organize his new office space. Mr. Joseph never used a PC and conducted his law business on a typewriter. He maintained a haphazard filing system, folders stacked everywhere, and his office looked like a bomb went off in it. But he knew where everything was.</p><p>What he didn&rsquo;t know was the statute of limitations had run out on Antione&rsquo;s legal claims. Time-barred, the court said. He filed an appeal, but it was dismissed for lack of prosecution &ndash; meaning that Mr. Joseph didn&rsquo;t file the follow-up documents necessary to keep the lawsuit going.</p><p>He was too busy trying out a separate lawsuit in Cook County in May 2003, one year after Antione&rsquo;s release. The city&rsquo;s lawyers shot back saying that in light of the federal lawsuit, the claims should be dismissed because they had already been denied.</p><p>It was a Catch-22 that Mr. Joseph tried to argue his way out of, appealing the case further. The court gave him a shot, considering the case even though it didn&rsquo;t contain the proper format and citations. In January 2005, the three judges who decided the appeal, however, ended up ruling in favor of the defendants &ndash; the City of Chicago and the two police officers who investigated Antione&rsquo;s case in 1990.</p><p>The judges offered no opinion on whether the police had indeed conspired against Antione or not. In their order, they explained they couldn&rsquo;t grant the appeal because the facts of the case had already been argued before a different court. And they had lost.</p><p>It was nothing like those stories on the news. People would call Antione and tell him they had seen an exoneree on TV being awarded millions of dollars. Why couldn&rsquo;t he do the same? When would he get his big payout?</p><p>&quot;Man, he&#39;s lucky,&quot; Antione would tell them.</p><p>ANTIONE NEEDED A JOB.</p><p>He was sick of being dependent on other people for life&rsquo;s basic necessities. Every bar of soap, bottle of mouthwash or pack of underwear that he needed someone to buy for him chipped away at his pride.</p><p>In the months following his release, he spent much of his time with his mom, shuttling her to and from their family doctor&rsquo;s office as her health deteriorated. Kidney problems, they told him. Antione wanted to support her, his kids, himself.</p><p>A friend told him about a building management company that was looking to hire, and Antione put in his application. He told the hiring managers about his wrongful conviction and showed them his court documents. Within a few days, they told Antione the job was his, and he got fitted for a uniform. It was a Friday. It was a good day.<br /><br />By Monday, he was called back into the office. They told him they couldn&rsquo;t hire him after all. It was his background, which still turned up murder and attempted murder.<br /><br />&ldquo;That was one of the first serious cuts I took, you know? Not being able, then, to get a job,&rdquo; Antione says.<br /><br />Without any training, programs or resources from the state to help him, Antione tried to help himself. He went to find a man named Steven Garth who ran a construction company. Some of Antione&rsquo;s buddies were already working for him on big projects around Chicago. Antione put on his work boots and belt and waited around the project site for his chance.</p><p>&ldquo;Why are you standing there?&rdquo; Garth asked when he first saw him.</p><p>&ldquo;Man, cuz I need a job, you know, and I&rsquo;m going to stand here until somebody hire me because I know there is something here I can do.&rdquo;</p><p>Garth left. Antione stood and waited. It rained.</p><p>When Garth came back, he told Antione he would give him a shot. Come in Monday.</p><p>On Antione&rsquo;s first day, a supervisor let him know this was his one shot: &ldquo;If you don&rsquo;t work out, you don&rsquo;t work out.&rdquo;</p><p>It worked out.</p><p>&ldquo;I learned how to build a scaffold on the job. I learned how to safety check a scaffold on the job. I learned how to stack bricks on the job,&rdquo; Antione says. &ldquo;I wanted to become an asset to a company.&rdquo;</p><p>He worked on Chicago&rsquo;s Millennium Park, the $475 million project that started while Antione was in prison in 1997. The park sits on four feet of topsoil, beneath which is Styrofoam and other materials, a man-made foundation that keeps the park from collapsing. Antione helped lay the concrete, framing the ground. He worked on the concrete steps, slathering and smoothing until it held, upward.</p><p>Antione didn&rsquo;t work on Millennium Park long enough to see its completion in 2004. He was moved to another project. Antione enjoyed the work, and it paid the bills for a few years until one day, he had to quit. No one made him except himself.&nbsp;</p><p>His mom needed a kidney.</p></p> Mon, 02 Dec 2013 09:29:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/exoneree-diaries/chapter-5-antiones-pay-day-109281 Chapter 4: James Kluppelberg's return home http://www.wbez.org/series/exoneree-diaries/chapter-4-james-kluppelbergs-return-home-109243 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/james_0_0.png" alt="" /><p><p><em>&ldquo;You know, I may have been deprived of my life for 25 years, but my children were deprived the privilege of a father. That&rsquo;s something that a lot of people overlook. There&rsquo;s a lot of victims in this. It isn&rsquo;t just the people who perished in the fire. It isn&rsquo;t just me. It spider-webs and laterals out to my children, my grandchildren, my wife, my sisters, my brother, my mother.&rdquo;</em><br /><br /><strong>&ldquo;TIM WHO?&rdquo;</strong> she asked.</p><p>&ldquo;No, it&rsquo;s Jim,&rdquo; James said into the phone.</p><p>&ldquo;OK. Jim who?&rdquo;</p><p>Rena&rsquo; knew a lot of Tim&rsquo;s and Jim&rsquo;s, friends and customers at the Econo Lodge Hotel in Silver City, New Mexico, where she worked, some 1,500 miles away from Chicago.</p><p>James told her it was him, from the letters.</p><p>Rena&rsquo; first got in touch with James through a prison correspondence service almost 20 years ago. She picked him at random from a list of inmates. His last name, &ldquo;Kluppelberg,&rdquo; started with a &lsquo;K,&rsquo; and so did hers. When Rena&rsquo; learned he was serving six life sentences, she felt safe he wouldn&rsquo;t get out and find her.</p><p>She wasn&rsquo;t looking for a relationship. On the contrary, she was trying to free herself of what had become burdensome correspondence with four other inmates, all sons of a friend who had passed away. Rena&rsquo; thought she&rsquo;d look into a prison correspondence service and see if an inmate on the other end found it valuable.</p><p>James was that inmate. His then-wife intercepted Rena&rsquo;s email and put them in touch. James gave Rena&rsquo; the information she needed to get her friend&rsquo;s boys set up.</p><p>Ten years later, when she was passing through Chicago before moving south, Rena&rsquo; took the weekend to visit James and say thanks. His wife accompanied her.</p><p>It was the first and only time during his incarceration that they met face-to-face. The group had one hour.</p><p>After his wife divorced him, James sent Rena&rsquo; a letter. He told her he didn&rsquo;t have many connections on the outside, and the two became pen pals. He wrote about five letters to her one, sometimes telling her the same story twice.</p><p>She became curious about his case.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;Ask me any question you want, and I&rsquo;ll answer it,&rdquo; he would write.</p><p>The more Rena&rsquo; read, the more she realized her pen pal was in the wrong place. Assured of his innocence, she wrote to him and asked: &ldquo;What do you look for in a woman?&rdquo;</p><p>She gave him her phone numbers in case he needed something, someday.</p><p>His first night as a free man, he called her from the Holiday Inn near Chicago&rsquo;s O&rsquo;Hare airport where his attorneys put him. He was to stay there until they could figure out where else he could go.</p><p>James and Rena&rsquo; had been talking for almost an hour when she stopped to ask: &ldquo;Wait a second, who&rsquo;s paying for this?&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;The attorneys!&rdquo;</p><p>She hung up and called James back, explaining to him that costs had gone up since he&rsquo;d been in prison.</p><p>&ldquo;Well, it&rsquo;s too bad that I&rsquo;m in Chicago,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>&ldquo;Dude, they make airplanes for a reason,&rdquo; Rena&rsquo; said.</p><p>They agreed she should request time off work and visit in a week&rsquo;s time.<br /><br /><strong>&ldquo;YOUR AUNT JUST POSTED </strong>something saying your dad&rsquo;s getting out,&rdquo; Felicia Kluppelberg told her husband James Kluppelberg Jr. by phone.</p><p>Felicia had been cruising Facebook at their Merrillville, Ind., home where they were raising two young daughters when she saw the news clip. She called her husband immediately. A journeyman electrician, he was out working at the Springfield Avenue pumping station in Chicago.</p><p>That night when he came home, they watched the news together. There James was, on the TV. This strange, yet familiar man was back in the world.</p><p>James Jr. hadn&rsquo;t seen him since he was a kid when his stepmother, one of James&rsquo; ex-wives, would take him for prison visits. He moved in with her when he was eight after spending a year in a homeless shelter with his mom, Dawn &ndash; also mother to his three half-brothers fathered by Duane Glassco, whose lies contributed to James&rsquo; wrongful conviction in 1989. About five years earlier, Dawn had left Glassco for James and brought James Jr. into the world.</p><p>On prison visits, the two James Kluppelbergs would sit together at one of many tables and chairs in a big open room. They would eat potato chips with Ketchup &ndash; the closest thing to French fries in the Department of Corrections. The potato chips had ridges, James Jr. remembers.</p><p>&ldquo;It had to be Ridges because it supports the ketchup,&rdquo; he says.</p><p>Prison staff would take two Polaroid pictures during the visits. One photo to stay. One to go.</p><p>When James, Jr. was in junior high, the visits stopped &ndash; James&rsquo; wife wanted a divorce. James kept writing to his son, but the letters went unanswered. He mailed elaborate drawings as gifts he had purchased from other inmates who were artists. No response.</p><p>&ldquo;I thought he was guilty,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;There was no one that said he was innocent.&rdquo;</p><p>Except Dawn, the mother of his child.</p><p>A few years before James&rsquo; release, two detectives came to James Jr.&rsquo;s door. As they asked questions, he started to think perhaps he had been wrong. Perhaps his dad was innocent and his mom &ndash; even though she was cracked out whenever he heard her say so &ndash; was right.</p><p>James never got the chance to see Dawn after his release. Cancer and drug addiction got her less than two weeks before he won his freedom. Some of her final days were spent at a nursing home next to Cook County Jail where James had entered the system almost a quarter of a century ago, presumably forever.</p><p>In hospice, she ripped out her own oxygen tube and took her final breaths. James Jr. and his brothers pooled their money together for her cremation and memorial service at a Baptist Church in Tinley Park, Southwest of Chicago.</p><p>James Jr. had lost his mother &ndash; did he ever have her? &ndash; and now it seemed, as James&rsquo; face flashed across the TV screen, he might be gaining a father.</p></p> Mon, 25 Nov 2013 11:20:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/exoneree-diaries/chapter-4-james-kluppelbergs-return-home-109243 New report says inadequate staffing allowed for sexual misconduct in youth prisons http://www.wbez.org/news/criminal-justice/new-report-says-inadequate-staffing-allowed-sexual-misconduct-youth-prisons <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/IDJJ_Admin_550_2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A report from an outside consultant says inadequate staffing and oversight led to high rates of sexual abuse in Illinois youth prisons.</p><p>Arthur Bishop, director of the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice, said the department is hiring more workers &ndash; but he said the department is going to need a budget increase next year to get staffing to correct levels.</p><p>The report, released Wednesday, was prepared by Kinsale Management Consulting, a California-based firm that previously investigated sexual abuse within the Catholic Church. It was commissioned by the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice after a June report by The United States Bureau of Justice Statistics ranked Illinois as one of the worst in the country for sexual victimization in youth prisons.</p><p>The study credits the department for responding quickly to that ranking, but it also says some of the state&rsquo;s measures to prevent sexual misconduct are outdated and insufficient.</p><p>Specifically, the report calls on the department to update its camera system, hire more prison staff and do a better job of investigating allegations.</p><p>Department of Juvenile Justice Director Arthur Bishop said they&rsquo;ve already hired 25 new workers, but he couldn&rsquo;t give specifics about how many more they need or when the hires would occur.</p><p>&ldquo;I can&rsquo;t give you an exact number,&quot; he said, &quot;but I can tell you without hesitation that we are looking to fill all critical vacancies.&quot;</p><p>Bishop also said the department is going to spend almost $2 million on new cameras.</p><p>The department has until 2017 to comply with the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act, and will soon be operating under a federal consent decree with regards to its education and mental health care. Both of those will likely mean more staff, and more money.</p><p>Bishop couldn&rsquo;t give an estimate of how much the total improvements will cost.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re hoping that the General Assembly, when our budget comes about, will work with us on not only meeting these needs of staffing but also the upcoming consent decree requirements and the [Prison Rape Elimination Act] requirements that have some impact on staffing ratios,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>The report was conducted over a 60-day period. It involved a review of the department&rsquo;s records and a visit to each of Illinois&rsquo; six youth prisons, where researchers interviewed staff, former workers and youth.</p><p>One of the key findings of the report was that the federal survey was likely much more accurate than the department&rsquo;s own sexual abuse figures.</p><p>While the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice&rsquo;s internal records indicated a sexual victimization rate of .006 percent, the BJS survey indicated a rate of 15.4 percent, more than 2,500 times higher.</p><p>The consultant&#39;s report made public Wednesday blamed this inconsistency on victim underreporting, inadequate record keeping and failure of staff to report sexual misconduct.</p><p>In fact, researchers noted a &ldquo;code of silence&rdquo; among some prison staff members who told researchers they would not tell on their fellow employees if they knew about misconduct.</p><p><em>Patrick Smith is a WBEZ producer and reporter. Follow him on twitter @pksmid.</em></p></p> Thu, 24 Oct 2013 16:58:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/criminal-justice/new-report-says-inadequate-staffing-allowed-sexual-misconduct-youth-prisons Watchdog to judges: Stop putting kids with mental health needs in prison http://www.wbez.org/news/watchdog-judges-stop-putting-kids-mental-health-needs-prison-108788 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/IDJJ_Admin_550_1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A new report from the prison watchdog John Howard Association says mental health treatment in Illinois youth prisons is so bad that judges need to stop sending kids with mental health needs to them.</p><p>The scathing report was released on Thursday. It is the latest in a series of studies that are highly critical of the care and education within the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice.</p><p>The report focuses on the youth prison in Kewanee, about 150 miles southwest of Chicago. That&rsquo;s the prison where the department sends its most seriously mentally ill prisoners. It also houses juvenile sex offenders and youth who need maximum-security detainment.</p><p>John Maki, executive director of the John Howard Association, says the problems at Kewanee stem from the decision to combine the department&rsquo;s three &ldquo;neediest and most difficult&rdquo; groups of kids in a remote youth prison with inadequate resources.</p><p>That&rsquo;s where the problems begin. But according to the report, it is not where they end.</p><p>Report author Jennifer Vollen-Katz found Kewanee to be lacking in staffing for security, mental health and education. The result is &ldquo;an environment that is unsustainable, unsafe and counterproductive,&rdquo; Vollen-Katz wrote..</p><p>Maki says more than a third of the needed mental health positions are unfilled, even though there is money in the budget for them. That means kids are missing out on more than 250 hours of crucial mental health care every week.</p><p>Failing to fill authorized positions &ldquo;points to [a failure] at the top&rdquo; of the department, Maki said. And he is frustrated by what he sees as a lack of progress.</p><p>&ldquo;For prison systems, most of the problems they deal with are mostly beyond their control...The problems at Kewanee are problems that the agency has control over,&rdquo; Maki said.</p><p>Maki said staffing is so inadequate that judges shouldn&rsquo;t send kids with mental health needs to the department any more, because they are bound to end up in Kewanee, and they won&rsquo;t get adequate treatment there.</p><p>A clerk for Judge Michael Toomin - who heads the Cook County juvenile courts - said the judge was unavailable for an interview, but that he has no opinion on the suggestion from the John Howard Association.</p><p>Judge Sophia Hall, who presides over the juvenile court&#39;s resource section, said the key is to provide mental health services to kids before they enter the justice system. But she said that takes resources the state doesn&#39;t really have.</p><p>&quot;The question I would have, and that anyone would have, is where do we put kids with mental health issues?&quot; she asked.</p><p>The John Howard report follows a trio of reports released by the Illinois ACLU on Monday as part of a class action lawsuit against the Department of Juvenile Justice, each focusing on different areas of trouble for the juvenile justice agency.</p><p>Dr. Louis Kraus spent time in Kewanee - and all the youth prisons - talking to prisoners and observing the conditions. According to his report, Kraus found mentally ill prisoners at Kewanee spending an excessive amount of time in their cells, unable to get treatment and education because security staff was about 20 guards short of its adequate level. Kraus also found youth in specialized treatment units were spending up to 24 hours a day confined to their rooms - and the confinement rooms were filthy, with food and other debris covering the floor.</p><p>Some of the words Kraus used in his report to describe the department&rsquo;s mental health treatment, policy and staffing are: insufficient, inadequate, improper, deficient and dangerous.</p><p>The Department of Juvenile Justice has not responded to repeated requests for comment.</p><p><em>Patrick Smith is a reporter for WBEZ. Follow him <a href="http://twitter.com/pksmid" target="_blank">@pksmid</a></em>.</p></p> Fri, 27 Sep 2013 13:29:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/watchdog-judges-stop-putting-kids-mental-health-needs-prison-108788 Neglected rape kits require Cook County victims to recount assaults http://www.wbez.org/news/neglected-rape-kits-require-cook-county-victims-recount-assaults-108479 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/robbins.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Cook County sheriff&rsquo;s office wants victims of as many as 201 unsolved rapes in south suburban Robbins to come forward and tell their stories, again.</p><p>That&rsquo;s because Robbins police didn&rsquo;t properly investigate them the first time.</p><p>Earlier this year the Cook County sheriff&rsquo;s office discovered 201 rape kits - dating back to 1978 - in a disorganized evidence locker in the Robbins police station.</p><p>One-hundred-and-fifty of the rape kits had been analyzed by state police, but Robbins police never conducted any further investigation. The other 51 hadn&rsquo;t even been sent to the state crime lab for testing.</p><p>&ldquo;Nationally the issue of untested rape kits is a big one &hellip;. But what we&rsquo;re talking about here is something more challenging. This department had sent in the kits but then never worked the results,&rdquo; sheriff spokeswoman Cara Smith said.</p><p>Robbins Mayor Tyrone Ward and police Chief Melvin Davis took over in May, about two months after the rape kits were found. At a press conference yesterday they stressed that the neglected rape kits were failures of past administrations, and did not reflect on their leadership.</p><p>Davis said he has replaced a quarter of the village&rsquo;s police department.</p><p>After he was hired, Davis said he conducted interviews with all of the officers, and determined that six of the 24 patrol officers weren&rsquo;t suited for the job. He also brought in new leadership.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve established a new command staff and we are making sure that all safeguards are in place to make sure this never happens again,&rdquo; Davis said.</p><p>Ward also promised that the underlying issues that led to the rape kits being neglected had been addressed. But he stopped short of promising more resources for the beleaguered police department.</p><p>&ldquo;You shouldn&rsquo;t work based on your salary, you should work based on your heart,&rdquo; Ward said.</p><p>Right now, the town of about 5,400 residents has two full-time officers - in addition to the command staff - and 24 part timers.</p><p>Davis said they are planning to transition three more officers into full-time roles.</p><p>The uninvestigated rape kits were discovered in March after a probe by the Cook County sheriff&rsquo;s office.</p><p>The sheriff&rsquo;s office took over the investigations and now is asking for help solving the sexual assaults the kits are tied to.</p><p>Smith said the condition of the kits was so bad that at least seven are water-damaged and unusable. And she said there are police reports for &ldquo;very few&rdquo; of the rape kits.</p><p>That&rsquo;s why she pleaded with victims to come forward to help investigators piece together what little information they have.</p><p>&ldquo;We may in some cases need to put together the case from the very beginning,&rdquo; Smith said.</p><p>Smith said the sheriff&rsquo;s office is pleased with the steps the new Robbins administration has taken. As for the old administration, she said in the six months since the rape kits were discovered she has never heard an explanation for how the kits went ignored.</p><p>&ldquo;In some of these cases we may be left saying [to the victim], we don&rsquo;t have an explanation for why it happened, but today we believe you and we&rsquo;ve done everything we could to try and bring justice to you,&rdquo; Smith said.</p><p>The sheriff&rsquo;&rsquo;s office and the office of the Cook County State&rsquo;s Attorney&rsquo;s are both trying to figure out a way to bring charges in the old sexual assault cases. The statute of limitations has run out on most of them.</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s nuances in the law depending on the age of the victim, the age of the crime, if DNA was uploaded, &ldquo; Smith said. &ldquo;So we have to kind of put those pieces together for each one of these, but we are certainly going to have cases where we can&rsquo;t bring charges, and that&rsquo;s a crime in and of itself.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Patrick Smith is a WBEZ reporter. Follow him <a href="http://twitter.com/pksmid" target="_blank">@pksmid</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 21 Aug 2013 14:14:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/neglected-rape-kits-require-cook-county-victims-recount-assaults-108479 Judge’s ‘belated’ decision to recuse could delay alleged torture case for months http://www.wbez.org/news/judge%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%98belated%E2%80%99-decision-recuse-could-delay-alleged-torture-case-months-108457 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/RS3083_daleypresser_4-scr_0.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>The attorney for an alleged victim of Chicago police torture says her client is a &ldquo;broken man&rdquo; after the judge in his case recused herself last week.</p><p>She says the judge&rsquo;s decision was politically motivated, and it could delay her client&rsquo;s search for justice for months.</p><p>Last week Cook County Judge Evelyn Clay withdrew from the case of convicted rapist Stanley Wrice.</p><p>In a phone conference last Tuesday, Clay told attorneys from both sides that it had &ldquo;belatedly come to [her] attention&rdquo; there would be &ldquo;an appearance of impropriety&rdquo; if she stayed on Wrice&rsquo;s case because she knows some of the witnesses, according to a court transcript.</p><p>Wrice&rsquo;s attorney Jennifer Bonjean says the judge&rsquo;s decision is an attempt to protect former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley from having to testify.</p><p>Wrice, 59, was sentenced to 100 years in prison for his alleged involvement in a 1982 gang rape. But he claims he didn&rsquo;t do it, and that he only confessed because he was tortured by police officers working under disgraced Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge.</p><p>Daley was the Cook County State&rsquo;s Attorney during Wrice&rsquo;s first trial in 1982.</p><p>Last year the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that Wrice&rsquo;s claims of torture warranted a review, and in January Clay ordered a full evidentiary hearing.</p><p>In her order Clay wrote that Wrice had &ldquo;established a substantial showing of actual innocence.&rdquo;</p><p>Bonjean said the judge&rsquo;s decision gave Wrice &ldquo;a little glimmer of hope.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;You&rsquo;re gonna have that chance finally ... &lsquo;I get to take the stand and I get to question witnesses through my attorneys about what happened to me and how I ended up in jail as an innocent man for 31 years,&rsquo;&rdquo; she said of Wrice&rsquo;s reaction.</p><p>The hearing was set for Sept. 23, but now Bonjean said she doesn&rsquo;t know when it will happen.</p><p>Along with the former mayor, Illinois Appellate Judge Bertina Lampkin is also named as a witness in the case. Lampkin was the prosecutor in Wrice&rsquo;s first trial.</p><p>Court records show that Clay had known who the witnesses would be for Wrice&rsquo;s hearing for the past year and a half.</p><p>According to the transcript, when Bonjean pointed this out, the judge agreed and apologized for her &ldquo;belated recognition&rdquo; of the potential appearance of impropriety.</p><p>During the phone conference, Bonjean asked Clay four times to explain her decision to withdraw, and according to the court record, each time the judge declined.</p><p>&ldquo;Well, I prefer not,&rdquo; Clay said at one point. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s as far as I need to go,&rdquo; she said at another.</p><p>Bonjean says the timing of the decision and Clay&rsquo;s unwillingness to explain further are signs that Clay was pressured by her bosses to recuse herself in an effort to delay Daley and Lampkin from having to testify.</p><p>&ldquo;The powers that be would rather leave a man in jail to rot for the rest of his life than to simply require those people to answer legitimate questions that they should have answered decades ago,&rdquo; Bonjean said.</p><p>Judge Clay and the special prosecutor on Wrice&rsquo;s current case did not return phone calls.</p><p>A new judge is set to be assigned to the case on September 4.</p><p><em>Patrick Smith is a WBEZ reporter. Follow him on Twitter <a href="http://twitter.com/pksmid" target="_blank">@pksmid</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 19 Aug 2013 16:13:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/judge%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%98belated%E2%80%99-decision-recuse-could-delay-alleged-torture-case-months-108457 Rockford’s new parolee database could be model for state http://www.wbez.org/news/rockford%E2%80%99s-new-parolee-database-could-be-model-state-108291 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/rockford.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Updated 8.7.13</em></p><p>The Rockford Police Department is working with the state of Illinois to develop a new way to keep track of people on parole and prepare reentry services for the ex-offenders.</p><p>Officials say if it works, it could serve as a model for the rest of the state.</p><p>The northwest suburb will use a $400,000 grant from the federal government to build a parolee database that will be the first of its kind in Illinois.</p><p>The new database will inform local authorities when a parolee from the Illinois Department of Corrections is settling in their area.</p><p>It will also include information on each parolee, like known addictions or potential homelessness.</p><p>Rockford applied for the grant through the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority.</p><p>Authority spokeswoman Cristin Evans wrote in an email that the grant will help Rockford arrange for reentry services for parolees with local providers before they arrive in Rockford.</p><p>&ldquo;American Reinvestment and Recovery Justice Assistance Grants, provided to Illinois by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), were used to support this project. Offender community re-entry is a BJA priority, data exchange projects/collaboration is a BJA priority, and [the] Rockford Police Department [is] replicating a proven model used in Racine, Wisconsin.,&rdquo; Evans wrote.</p><p>Police Chief Chet Epperson said people on probation and parole account for 12 to 15 percent of weekly arrests.</p><p>Tom Shaer, a spokesman for the Illinois Department of Corrections, said his department is working closely with Rockford to develop an infrastructure for data sharing.</p><p>&ldquo;Just as consumer information sharing has evolved and rapidly improved, so too can public servants improve their sharing of information,&rdquo; Shaer said.</p><p>Shaer said this kind of database is something the state &ldquo;definitely&rdquo; wants to expand statewide. And he said Rockford will be a test for that potential expansion.</p><p>&ldquo;What better way to share data than for these purposes?&rdquo; Shaer asked. &ldquo;The more information that is shared, and the quicker it is shared is better for everyone.&rdquo;</p><p>The new database could address what Rockford officials say is a flaw in the current system: that they sometimes aren&rsquo;t told about ex-offenders until a month or two after they arrive in the city.</p><p>But Shaer said that isn&#39;t true, and that the department always notifies local police before parolees are released.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s not that it&rsquo;s bad now or broken now, but if you can make it better, why not do that?&rdquo; Shaer said of IDOC&rsquo;s notification system.</p><p>According to Evans, the project will be completed before Sept. 30.</p><p><em>Patrick Smith is a WBEZ reporter. Follow him on Twitter <a href="http://twitter.com/pksmid" target="_blank">@pksmid</a></em></p></p> Mon, 05 Aug 2013 15:19:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/rockford%E2%80%99s-new-parolee-database-could-be-model-state-108291 Chicago updates assault weapons ban http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-updates-assault-weapons-ban-108086 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/fio.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">Chicago aldermen acknowledge that the tweaks made to the city&rsquo;s assault weapons ban today won&rsquo;t do much to prevent violence.</p><p dir="ltr">But, they said, it is the best they can do.</p><p dir="ltr">The Chicago City Council voted to add to the list of so-called assault weapons banned in the city, and--in a separate ordinance-- to increase fines against people caught with a gun near a school.</p><p dir="ltr">The state&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-legislature-passes-concealed-carry-bill-awaits-quinns-signature-107417">new concealed carry law</a> allowed cities until Friday to update or create bans on military-style rifles.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Now this isn&rsquo;t going to cure everything, but we have a window and it would be irresponsible and reckless not to take this window and make sure that our laws were toughened,&rdquo; Mayor Rahm Emanuel said.</p><p dir="ltr">Some critics were disappointed that the ordinance introduced by Emanuel didn&rsquo;t include stiffer punishments for owning the banned weapons.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;The question is why wouldn&rsquo;t we [increase the penalties]?&rdquo; asked Ald. Carrie Austin (34th).</p><p dir="ltr">Austin, however, voted along with the rest of the city council to approve the amendment to the 1992 assault weapons ban.</p><p dir="ltr">Even without an increase in penalties, Austin said she still believes the changes will make a difference.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Everyone says this is just something to just feel good, feel fuzzy. No. I don&rsquo;t do things that are just feel good, feel fuzzy. I want to do things that are going to have some teeth to it,&rdquo; Austin said.</p><p dir="ltr">Ald. Robert Fioretti (2nd) said the amendment is essentially toothless, saying the assault weapons ban needs harsher penalties, and the state&rsquo;s attorney needs to enforce the ban.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Otherwise, why did we have this meeting today?&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Fioretti said Chicago&rsquo;s ban on assault weapons has had &ldquo;very limited effect&rdquo; since it was created.</p><p dir="ltr">In a committee meeting the day before, and again at the council meeting today, Fioretti asked city officials how many people had been shot with an assault weapon in the past two years in Chicago.</p><p dir="ltr">He said he still hasn&rsquo;t received an answer.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;From what I&rsquo;ve [heard] from people in the police department it is &hellip; one person,&rdquo; Fioretti said. But he said that number hasn&rsquo;t been confirmed by the department.</p><p dir="ltr">The Chicago Police Department said in a statement that about 4 percent of all guns recovered this year were so-called assault weapons.</p><p dir="ltr">Fioretti also seemed skeptical of another public safety ordinance, this one introduced by the mayor and who said it is meant to help improve safety for school children.</p><p dir="ltr">That ordinance, which also passed unanimously today, creates school safety zones within 1,000 feet of schools.</p><p dir="ltr">Under the new ordinance, anyone convicted of possessing a gun near schools, on buses or along designed Safe Passage routes could face up to a $5,000 fine and up to six months incarceration, with punishment increasing for repeat offenders.</p><p dir="ltr">Fioretti said he thinks the law will create more confusion than anything else.</p><p dir="ltr">But Fenger High School Principal Liz Dozier said the new law will help make students safer.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We have to start doing things to make our communities a safer place for our kids to go to and from school,&rdquo; Dozier said. &ldquo;Our kids need to be focused more on their studies than &hellip; being concerned about their safety.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Dozier said the new laws &ldquo;won&rsquo;t fix everything,&rdquo; but they are a good step.</p><p dir="ltr">Pounding the podium as he addressed the city council, the mayor &nbsp;insisted on the importance of the school safety ordinance.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Today&rsquo;s votes are the right things to do,&rdquo; Emanuel said. &ldquo;We stepped up for our children. The weak link to protect our streets are our gun laws.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Emanuel and several aldermen spent some time complaining about the state&rsquo;s new concealed carry law.</p><p dir="ltr">One after another, city council members stood to say they are doing all they can, but that the real power to improve gun laws lies with state and federal lawmakers.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Down in Springfield we have a battle,&rdquo; Emanuel said.</p><p dir="ltr"><em>Patrick Smith is a WBEZ reporter. Follow him on twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/pksmid">@pksmid</a></em></p></p> Wed, 17 Jul 2013 11:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-updates-assault-weapons-ban-108086