From Illinois Public Radio - News -

US Attorney General Holder Visits Peoria

Eric Holder

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in Peoria, Ill. on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2103. (Denise Molina-Weiger/IPR)

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder called a local program that helps certain non-violent offenders stay out of prison a model for what his office wants to do.

Holder made his remarks at the federal courthouse in Peoria while touting the Justice Department’s new Smart on Crime initiative. It’s a program announced in August that is working to find alternatives to putting low-level offenders in prison.

Holder observed a Pretrial Alternatives to Detention Court Hearing. He also discussed how the program works with those who help run it. Holder said the success of the Central District of Illinois program in its 11 years of existence is noteworthy.

 "Over 90-percent of the people going through the program completed it successfully in leading productive lives. you've been doing this for an extended number of years, so I wanted to come out here, observe it, and hopefully take some ideas back with us."

Holder said the nation spends $80-billion a year on incarceration.

He also talked with those going through the Alternatives to Detention court program, and encouraged them to work hard to stay out of prison. The program is voluntary for selected candidates with substance abuse problems. They are required to receive treatment and are closely monitored with the goal of transitioning them to become productive members of society.