KANKAKEE — Besides drug cases, the highest number of criminal cases in Kankakee County Court are for felony domestic violence, the county’s lead prosecutor says.
Domestic violence is an issue across all demographics, State’s Attorney Jim Rowe told a county oversight committee this week. Seventy-five felony domestic violence cases have been filed this year.
“Those are strangulations and repeat offenders. They are very serious cases,” said Rowe, who took office in 2016.
Rowe, who has criticized his predecessor Jamie Boyd for not being tough enough on domestic violence, said he has come to appreciate a longstanding practice to send first-time offenders to a program that helps them correct their behaviors.
The program lasts 26 weeks and helps domestic violence offenders with drug and alcohol addictions, he said.
“If they complete the program, they are not convicted,” Rowe said.
He said the chance of the program’s participants getting in trouble for domestic violence again is a lot less than for other offenders.
Before he took office, Rowe said, “I wasn’t too fond of sending someone who is accused of domestic violence into some diversion program.” But he said the program appears to be more successful in preventing repeat offenses than other approaches.
Asked about human trafficking, Rowe noted Kankakee and Iroquois counties have a task force to address the issue. He said when law enforcement deals with cases, such as prostitution, suspects are asked questions geared toward finding out whether they are trafficking victims.
Despite such efforts, he said no human trafficking cases have come through the local state’s attorney’s office.