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Hite Ross Approved As Winnebago County State's Attorney

Sarah Jesmer
Marilyn Hite Ross is congratulated by county board members just moments after their vote on her nomination to the State's Attorney seat.

Marilyn Hite Ross will be Winnebago County's new State's Attorney. She currently is serving as the Chief of the Criminal Bureau. She was confirmed by the Winnebago County Board on Tuesday night with a vote of 17 to 3.

Hite Ross says she wants to champion issues related to domestic violence survivor support and a more transparent police force.

She also says she would love to see more long term mental health facilities. She said some in the criminal justice system should really be in mental health facilities.

"The county jails are not equipped to handle individuals with mental health issues and those who have mental health issues do not belong in the county jails," she said.

Winnebago County doesn't have many options for long term care.

"So we've had to get creative by trying to recommend them to state treatment facilities outside of the county. But I certainly would like to get partnerships to try to see what we can do to help these individuals so that they don't come into the criminal justice system," said Hite Ross.

Come December, Hite Ross will replace Joe Bruscato. He resigned from the position after being appointed to be a judge. Hite Ross is the first African American and the first woman to hold this position in the county. 

Illinois could see a new future for the criminal justice system. Governor-elect JB Pritkzer's running mate, Juliana Stratton, will take over as head of state-wide criminal justice reform policies.