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Program Profile: Cook County (Ill.) State Attorney's Deferred Prosecution Program (DPP)

Evidence Rating: No Effects - One study No Effects - One study

Date: This profile was posted on June 14, 2018

Program Summary

This is an alternative sentencing program aimed at diverting individuals who committed first-time nonviolent felony offenses from the criminal justice system. The program is rated No Effects. Results showed no statistically significant differences between the treatment group and comparison group on rearrests rates.

Program Description

Program Goals/Target Population
The Cook County (Ill.) State’s Attorney’s Office Deferred Prosecution Program (DPP) is an alternative sentencing program aimed at diverting individuals from the criminal justice system. The program is intended for individuals who committed first-time nonviolent felony offenses.
Program Eligibility
Defendants are eligible for the DPP if they do not have a prior violent felony conviction. Additionally, any misdemeanor conviction that is determined by the courts to be a violent offense makes the defendant ineligible. The courts define violent offenses as those in which bodily harm is inflicted or where force is used against or threatened against any person. Defendants are not eligible for the DPP program if they previously participated in the program or are charged with the delivery of, intent to deliver, or manufacture of a controlled substance.
Program Components
Defendants who are eligible for DPP are chosen by the assistant state’s attorney from the Cook County Branch Court. Victims are contacted first for their approval to defer the defendant’s prosecution. The victims have veto power to deny a defendant’s participation in the program.
Once defendants are selected and their victims approve of their participation, the defendants are represented by a defense attorney, and their right to a preliminary hearing is waived. The defendants accept the conditions of the 12-month, DPP program during which time they must come to court for an initial court appearance and then once every 3 months. After the initial trial, defendants are assigned to a pretrial services officer and must meet with their assigned officer monthly. For certain offenses, defendants are required to meet educational and employment conditions, including a full restitution to the victim or property owner, enrollment and attendance in a GED program, and community service participation.
At the end of the program, defendants’ felony charges are dismissed, and they can then have their records expunged. A participant who reoffends during the program will be expelled from the program, as determined by the state’s attorney’s office. If defendants do not complete the program, the felony will remain on their records, and they will proceed with having a traditional courtroom prosecution.

Evaluation Outcomes

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Study 1
Rearrests Rates
George and colleagues (2015) found that there were no statistically significant differences in rearrests rates between the Deferred Prosecution Program (DPP) participants and the comparison group. Specifically, 31 percent of DPP participants and 34 percent of comparison groups participants were rearrested.
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Evaluation Methodology

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Study 1
George and colleagues (2015) assessed the impact of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office Deferred Prosecution Program (DPP) in reducing rearrests rates over an 18-month follow-up period. The researchers used a mixed-methods approach involving qualitative and quantitative methods including a quasi-experimental design. The evaluation compared defendants who participated in DPP with nonparticipating defendants. The program aims to provide an alternative to prison for first-time nonviolent felony offenders.
Participants in the treatment and control groups were sampled between February 2011 and December 2012. The treatment group (N=695) was 60 percent male, 47 percent white and 34 percent African American, and had an average age of 26 years. The comparison group consisted of individuals who were eligible for DPP, but not referred. Comparison group participants were processed through court as usual. The comparison group (N=991) was 66 percent male, 41 percent white and 40 percent African American, and had an average age of 27 years. There were no statistically significant differences between the treatment and comparison groups at baseline.
The program collected information from various databases to match treatment and comparison group participants. The study used administrative data provided by DPP. Additionally, case management data was provided and maintained by Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities (TASC), pretrial services, and the Cook County Clerk of Court. Criminal history data was provided by the Illinois State Police database and accessed through the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA). The program looked at whether a defendant was rearrested after 18 months of DPP treatment or final disposition date. Outcomes were measured using two sets of analyses. A binary logistic regression model and a Cox proportional regression model were used to analyze the impact of DPP and standard adjudication on rearrests rates. No subgroup analyses were conducted.

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There is no cost information available for this program.
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Evidence-Base (Studies Reviewed)

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Study 1
George, Christine, John Orwat, Donald Stemen, Jennifer Cossyleon, Julie Hilvers, and Edward Chong. 2015. “An Evaluation of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office Deferred Prosecution Program.” Chicago, Ill.:  Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority.
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Program Snapshot

Gender: Both

Race/Ethnicity: Black, White

Geography: Urban

Setting (Delivery): Courts

Program Type: Alternatives to Incarceration, Diversion, Court Processing

Targeted Population: First Time Offenders

Current Program Status: Active