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SHERIFF'S INITIATIVE FOR SOCIAL FINANCE FUNDING COMMITTEE PASSES COUNTY BOARD

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Tuesday, October 2, 2012Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart is pleased to see the Cook County Board pass a resolution to support his efforts in developing a Social Finance Funding Project to help reduce population numbers at the Cook County Jail.

The Department of Justice continues to express grave concern over the rise in jail population and it has been indicated that developing a plan/program to reduce the population numbers and maintain that reduction is critical to reaching substantial compliance with the Agreed Order.

Social financing projects have been launched in the United Kingdom, New York City and Massachusetts with the goal of attracting private financing to public programs and projects to reduce public spending in specific areas. If the programs are successful and savings are generated, investors recoup a portion of the savings as a return on the investment.

After months of working with the Chicago Community Trust, it was concluded that the best way to launch this program is through this resolution allowing the Sheriff to convene an advisory group who will be charged with developing an implementation plan. This group will include members from the Chicago Community Trust and others from the finance and advocacy community that will develop the financing strategy, the targeted populations for intervention and the parameters of an agreement with the county. The Sheriff's goal is to have the group report back to the County Board at the beginning of 2013.

"What we are currently doing is not enough," Sheriff Dart said. "I am excited to take this unique opportunity to develop a thoughtful and innovative plan to reduce the population at the jail and use programming and services to transform the lives of individuals we so frequently see in and out of our door."

Once the recommendations from this group are compiled, the Sheriff's Office will execute an agreement with the Trust to outline the financial relationship between the Trust and the county, with an agreement in place and the interventions launching by spring of next year.

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