Chicago – Today, State Representative Tom Demmer received the Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities’ (TASC) 2019 Legislative Champion Award at the agency’s annual Leadership Awards Luncheon.
TASC’s Legislative Champion Award recognizes lawmakers who have supported initiatives to improve opportunities for substance use disorder treatment, recovery, and community engagement, especially such opportunities for individuals who have had contact with the criminal legal system.
TASC President Pam Rodriguez presented the award to Demmer, recognizing his leadership in preserving an Illinois statute that allows eligible individuals with non-violent offenses to go through community-based treatment and case management under probation supervision as an alternative to incarceration.
“Without it, thousands of people who come through the courts each year would not have this pathway to treatment,” said Rodriguez, “and judges would be without a critical sentencing option for people who come before them with substance use disorders. We are grateful for Representative Demmer’s attention to both the letter and the spirit of the law.”
“As lawmakers, we should always be pursuing data-driven and evidenced-based policy solutions to the problems facing our constituents, particularly the most vulnerable,” said Rep. Demmer. “That’s why I’m honored to receive this award from TASC. Their work reduces the incidence of crime and substance abuse, while lowering the total cost of incarceration. I will continue to work in a bipartisan way on these issues so we can improve health outcomes and public safety for the people of Illinois.”
Rep. Demmer was one of four Illinois lawmakers to receive the award in its inaugural year, along with Senator Mattie Hunter, Majority Caucus Chair; Senator Melinda Bush; and Representative Marcus C. Evans, Jr.
Rodriguez also presented the agency’s 2019 Justice Leadership Award to Illinois Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton, and the agency’s Public Voice Leadership Award to the U.S. State Department’s Brian Morales, branch chief within the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL).
TASC is a statewide, nonprofit organization in Illinois that advocates for diversion, alternatives to incarceration, and reentry services for people who come in contact with the justice system and child welfare system, specializing in case management for adults and youth who have substance use disorders.