Cook Co. Board wants to make prostitution lesser offense - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

The Talker: Cook Co. Board wants lesser offense for prostitution charges

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Illinois is 1 of just 8 states that can charge people arrested for prostitution with a felony. In other states it's a lesser offense, a misdemeanor.

But now the Cook County Board wants the lesser charge in Illinois as well. It passed a resolution urging state lawmakers to make prostitution a misdemeanor only. Pending that, it's also urging Cook County prosecutors to voluntarily stop pursuing felony prostitution charges.

While some people think the justice system treats prostitutes wrong entirely, the County Board is motivated by money and facility issues. The county jail is almost out of space. Reduced prostitution charges is part of a larger plan by the County Board president to allow people accused of non-violent crimes to go free while they await trial.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle says, "Cook County puts too much focus on non-violent felonies. For instance in Illinois, prostitution is considered a felony. Cook County has the lowest, the lowest percentage of violent felonies of any large urban county in the nation. Yet we're holding people in detention who ultimately will be sentenced to probation and released or have their charges dropped against them."

So what do you think -- should people accused of prostitution face misdemeanor instead of felony charges? Sound off on our Facebook page.

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