Chicago's HOPE Diversion Court Shut Down After Several Attempts to Fix Problems Failed
Date:  10-29-2018

Program did not reach population for which it was intended
This article was jointly reported by Injustice Watch and City Bureau, a Chicago-based civic journalism lab. A version of this article appears on the Chicago Sun-Times online and in the Sunday print edition.

Whispers filled the unusually full Courtroom 100 early this October where participants in Cook County’s intensive probation program, the HOPE court, waited one last time for the judge to arrive.

Public defender John Greenlees scanned the crowd, pointing and tipping off the captive audience to what would happen next. You are done, he told one defendant after another, to sighs and whispers. This is over, he said to a third. Others, he gave a thumbs-up. No more weekly check-ins or calling in, he said, shaking his head. No more Judge Jackie M. Portman-Brown.

Just after lunchtime, Portman-Brown took to the bench one last time to make the announcement: After six years, the HOPE court was done and gone. Taxpayer funding for the program had been cut, and the county would not be swooping in to save it. Continue reading >>>