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State's Attorney News
McHenry County State's Attorney Launching Deferred Prosecution Program
July 15, 2019
MCHENRY COUNTY STATE’S ATTORNEY LAUNCHING DEFERRED PROSECUTION PROGRAM
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Beginning August 1, 2019, Patrick D. Kenneally, the McHenry County State’s Attorney, is launching the Deferred Prosecution Program, formerly the First Offender Program. The Deferred Prosecution Program will continue and expand upon the State’s Attorney’s commitment to divert less serious offenders from the criminal justice system to a less costly process administered by a volunteer panel of citizens.
Specifically, an offender admitted into the Deferred Prosecution Program writes out a statement admitting to the offense, appears before a panel of citizens who are informed of the details of the offense and meet with the offender. The victim will also have an opportunity to address the offender and panel members. Thereafter, the panel of citizens places requirements on the offender that must be completed within a certain period of time. These requirements may include making full restitution to the victim, completing community service hours, obtaining a high school diploma, seeking counseling or substance abuse treatment, obtaining and maintaining employment, and not committing further offenses. Upon successful completion of these requirements, the offender’s case is dismissed. If the offender fails to complete the program successfully, the case is returned to the courts for prosecution.
Previously, a similar diversionary program was only available to first-time offenders. The diversion of first-time offenders proved incredibly successful, boasting a recidivism rate of less than 20%. The Deferred Prosecution Program seeks to build upon this success by allowing admission, on a case-by-case basis, of minor offenders who may have been arrested before.
Of the Program, Kenneally stated:
“While holding everyone that has violated the law accountable is paramount, inflexible approaches to prosecuting less serious offenses is unnecessarily expensive and risks imposing criminal convictions that can have collateral consequences for the rest of an offender’s life. The Deferred Prosecution Program is a win-win. It establishes consequences and effectively promotes rehabilitation for those who have broken the law, does a better job reducing recidivism, and helps alleviate the financial and personnel strain on the system.”