Lawmakers look to remedy Illinois Corrections after recent investigation

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT

CHICAGO – A group of Illinois Republican lawmakers are taking action in the wake of the recent investigative report detailing a situation where a high-paid corrections employee had a history of gang membership and falsified job qualifications spanning multiple state agencies.

State Rep. Dennis Reboletti, R-Elmhurst; State Rep. John Anthony, R-Plainfield; and State Rep. Jeanne Ives, R-Wheaton; are seeking a legislative remedy for the future and a potential investigation into the lapses in employment standards within the Illinois Department of Corrections.

A Chicago Sun-Times article revealed Xandrian McCraven, a former Chicago gang member with political ties, was found to have bounced between several high paying jobs with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and the IDOC.

Despite being a former gang member with more than 24 arrests and three convictions ranging from illegal handgun possession to disorderly conduct, McCraven continued to be hired for positions he was not eligible to hold.

Most recently, McCraven was employed as a senior adviser to the IDOC Chief of Parole making $111,432 a year. Anthony, who is a former police officer, questions how a former gang member with such a questionable record was given so many chances at high paying positions within the IDOC, according to a news release.

“We need to ensure that in the future there are clear parameters for employment in these agencies with access to not only the law enforcement system, but also sensitive data,” Anthony said in a news release. “There’s clearly more to this story, but as someone with a law enforcement background who has worked as a gang officer in the past, I know the reach of these street gangs. I can very easily see this as an opportunity, using positions in these agencies as a potential source for information and even recruiting.”

Reboletti and Anthony are seeking a legislation aimed at barring gang members from employment by state law enforcement agencies and agencies that supervise children.

Under their proposal, a person who is documented to have been a member of a gang would be prohibited from employment by the IDOC, the Illinois State Police, the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice and DCFS.

For the prohibition to apply, there would have to be documentary evidence that he or she was a member of a gang, including a gang related conviction of gang-related offense or finding of fact by a court and would apply to all hiring by agencies.

Similarly, Ives is looking to address the situation in a broader sense with a proposal prohibiting a person with two or more criminal convictions from holding employment with the state.

Under her proposal, a person who has been convicted two or more times of criminal offenses including a felony, class A Misdemeanor or driving under the influence, would be ineligible to be employed by the state.

While it would exempt certain traffic violations and smaller misdemeanors, it would apply to all state hiring.

All three lawmakers indicated they were going to explore the option of calling for legislative hearings into exactly how this individual was able to repeatedly obtain these positions despite being relieved from his duties at each assignment.

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