SPRINGFIELD, Ill.- The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority told a Senate Appropriations Sub-Committee they need additional funding to continue helping under represented communities.
The organization is requesting $273.8 million for their Fiscal Year 2022 budget. ICJIA Acting Executive Director Delrice Adams explained that money creates grants for organizations in under-represented communities. She stressed the group will focus on advancing racial equity through research and grant-making throughout the next year.
"We are aiming to partner with more impacted communities, include vital voices of persons most harmed by the criminal justice system and focus our grant-making on organizations who have held the burden of failed policies and systemic racism," Adams said.
Adams emphasized their efforts will target small community-based organizations. In addition, she said the authority commits to using research and data for grant and decision-making.
"ICJIA's research can help drive policy and build equity inclusion across all justice sectors," said Adams.
She also noted the organization will need to hire additional administrative and research staff members to make this happen.
"We are aggressively pursuing diversity in our hiring. Women comprise 66% of ICJIA's workforce, which is 47% white, 36% Black, 9% Asian and 8% Hispanic," said Adams.
Meanwhile, committee members had concerns about rising gun violence and carjackings in neighborhoods across Illinois. Adams said the organization uses data and research to make grant distribution decisions specifically based on violent trends they see.
"Then ICJIA will make informed decisions on how our organization can be of support in terms of investment and funding to go towards these different areas of our criminal justice system," said Adams.
Chairwoman Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) said she constantly hears about crime increasing in her city and other metro areas across the state. She argued the authority isn't focusing on that problem as much as they should be.
"There's a lot of things going on out there and we need to get a handle on it," said Hunter. "There's too many dollars running through your organization, and I don't see any outcomes."
Hunter also said she plans to meet with the organization to keep the conversation going.