DIXON – During 2013, there were 442 total felony, misdemeanor, and DUI convictions in Lee County, according to a report released from the state’s attorney office.
Compared to the 1,024 felony, misdemeanor, and DUI convictions in Whiteside County during the same time period, the figure seems small, but when accounting for population differences, the rate is around the same number.
The number of convictions per 100 people in Lee County is 1.3. In Whiteside County, it’s 1.8.
2013 was the first year in office for both Lee County State’s Attorney Anna Sacco-Miller and Whiteside County State’s Attorney Trish Joyce.
“It was kind of daunting, taking office with the number of serious cases that were pending,” Sacco-Miller said.
“But now that we’re starting to resolve some of those cases ... I feel like we’ve made a lot of progress in the efficiency,” Sacco-Miller said. “The jail numbers are down; the case numbers are up; things seem to be moving at a good rate.”
Sacco-Miller credited the county’s use of restorative justice programs like drug court and mental health court with the improving uptick in efficiency of the office.
“We’re working to really try to address the root of crime and reduce the crime rate and make everyone safer,” she said.
Joyce, too, is happy with the way her office is running.
“I think that our staff has really jelled,” she said in an earlier interview. “I think we have a good working relationship with the defense attorneys, and we certainly have a good relationship with the sheriff’s department and with the police departments. And we’re busy.”
The Whiteside County state’s attorney’s office is currently at work implementing restorative justice programs similar to the ones Lee County has. First up: a drug court, which they hope to have up and running by September.