Republican candidate for Rock Island County State's Attorney Eric Reyes wants to bring more of the human touch back to the world of law enforcement.
“The job of a prosecutor is not to get convictions but to seek justice,” Reyes told Rock Island Today. “We’re going to start being people again and not just machines to put people in jail.”
One area where Reyes plans to approach things differently is in the way that drug crimes are often handled and prosecuted.
Republican candidate for Rock Island County States’ Attorney Eric Reyes | http://www.ericsreyes.com/
“The drug war is not a war anymore because we’ve already lost,” he said. “All we keep doing is locking people up for an addiction, then letting them out as if they can go on and be contributors to society. The reality is they are harder criminals by then with the same problems that led them to the drugs to begin with.”
Reyes, who once ran for Congress in the 17th Congressional District, is poised to take on incumbent Rock Island County State’s Attorney Dora Villarreal.
“I wouldn’t be running against her if I thought she was doing the job the way I would do it,” Reyes said. “We’re focusing on the wrong things. It takes someone with courage and conviction to come along and say, 'I realize this sounds unorthodox but we need to be doing something different.' Instead of locking people up in cages for a sickness, I believe we need more rehabilitation.”
So far, Reyes said his message is being well-received by those who will have the final say about it.
“All the feedback has been really positive,” he said. “I don’t know anyone who thinks the war on drugs is working. When I was in that office before as an assistant, we often used the phrase 'prosecutorial discretion.' That means the world is not all black and white and that those circumstances should be taken into account.”