Chicago Appleseed, The People’s Lobby and Reclaim Chicago are proud to release today our new report, “In Pursuit of Justice for All: An Evaluation of Kim Foxx’s First Year in Office,” which assesses State’s Attorney Foxx’s progress on her reform goals during her first year in office. Foxx has made substantial progress in reforming how her office handles bail recommendations and charging decisions. She has also released substantial amounts of data for experts to review. Nevertheless, community activists are looking for more progress on her pledges to treat drug use as a public health problem and consider the immigration consequences for undocumented individuals facing charges.
The report also details the institutional and political obstacles to Foxx’s reform agenda, highlights the work of community activists to hold her accountable to fulfilling campaign promises, and makes specific recommendations for Foxx’s second year in office.
Cook County State’s Attorney Kimberly Foxx took office one year ago after a landslide primary victory over incumbent Anita Alvarez followed by a decisive general election win, both driven by her platform of transparency, police accountability, and prosecutorial reforms that respect the rights of people facing trial.
As one of the several prosecutors elected on a reform platform in recent years, activists believe it’s critical that Foxx succeed in implementing her bold agenda. Advocates and grassroots organizations who endorsed Foxx are committed to holding her accountable through regular face-to-face meetings, regional town halls, and regular reports on her progress. Success in Cook County can serve as a model for the reform movement around the country.
“Black, Latinx and other poor communities of color have been ripped apart by the War on Drugs and a tough-on-crime mentality,” said Rev. Charles Straight, a leader with The People’s Lobby. “Hope and healing in our communities depends in large part on major reforms to the legal system, and that’s why we are so committed to holding Kim Foxx accountable to her campaign promises.”
Kim Foxx has taken bold first steps down the long, slow road to reform of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. In her first year, she has made significant changes in a number of areas that are already having positive impacts on individuals and entire communities. Foxx has released significant amounts of data, making meaningful progress on her commitment to transparency. Foxx’s reforms in the areas of monetary bond and limitations on filing certain kinds of charges have helped to significantly reduce the number of people languishing in Cook County Jail while waiting for trial. Nevertheless, Foxx has yet to make meaningful progress on her campaign promises to treat drug use and addiction as public health problems or to develop guidelines on immigration consequences for consideration in the charging and sentencing of non-citizens. Chicago Appleseed and our community partners look forward to working with and supporting Foxx and her office on both issues in the second year of her term.