Lawmakers Call for Legislation, Potential Investigation on Troubled Illinois Corrections Employee

Reps Reboletti, Anthony & Ives at press conference calling
for hearings on Illinois' hiring practices
A group of Illinois Republican lawmakers are taking action in the wake of the recent investigative report detailing the troubling situation surrounding the high-paid corrections employee with a history of gang membership and falsified job qualifications spanning multiple state agencies.  The trio, including State Rep. Dennis Reboletti (R-Elmhurst), State Rep. John Anthony (R-Morris) and State Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton), is seeking a legislative remedy for the future and a potential investigation into the apparent gross lapses in employment standards within the Illinois Department of Corrections.

“There’s been a clear breakdown in the system involving in what at best could be described as incompetence and at worst as the clout induced, high cost shuffling of an unqualified, former gang member,” stated Rep. Reboletti.  “This situation is appalling at so many levels, but the one I’m most concerned with is the threat to public safety imposed by a former gang member working on the inside of the Illinois Department of Corrections.  While I believe the situation in its entirety must be examined, this in particular must be addressed immediately.”

The situation as detailed by the Chicago Sun Times last week 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 (DCFS) and the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) despite major problems with his background including involvement as a former gang member with over 24 arrests and three convictions ranging from illegal handgun possession to disorderly conduct.

Most recently, McCraven was employed as a senior advisor to the IDOC Chief of Parole at a salary of $111,432 a year.   Like Rep. Reboletti, former police officer Rep. Anthony was questioning how a former gang member with such a questionable record was given so many chances at high paying positions within the IDOC.

 “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,” said Rep. Anthony.  “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.”

Rep. Reboletti and Rep. Anthony are seeking a legislative initiative 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 criminal gang would be prohibited from employment by the Illinois Department of Corrections, the Illinois State Police, the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

For the prohibition to apply, there would have to be documentary evidence that he or she was a member of a criminal street 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 including unionized and political hires.

Similarly, Rep. 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 of Illinois.

“I think the taxpayers of Illinois are fed up with these types of stories,” stated Ives.  “To have a politically connected employee bounce between agencies collecting a high level salary with this type of record, all the while apparently falsifying qualifications is just not acceptable.  And to have been repeatedly ‘placed’ into positions just leaves you asking more questions.”

Under her proposal, a person who has been convicted two or more times of criminal offenses including a felony, class A Misdemeanor or a DUI would be ineligible to be employed in any position by the State of Illinois.  While it would exempt certain traffic violations and smaller class misdemeanors, the prohibition would apply prospectively to all state hiring including unionized, political, legislative and judicial employees.

All three lawmakers indicated that 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.