Gov. Pritzker signs legislation expanding voting rights, rehabilitation in criminal justice system

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CHICAGO — Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a package of legislation Wednesday designed to expand voting rights, civic engagement and educational and rehabilitation programming in Illinois’ criminal justice system.

One bill, SB2090, expands voter access and education efforts in jails across the state. The new law directs county jails and local election officials to establish a process that allows detainees awaiting trial to cast their ballots during elections.

SB2090 also directs the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) and county jails to provide a voter registration application and detailed information about their voting rights.

The bill takes effect immediately.

“It’s a new day in Illinois – one where we not only recognize the sanctity of the vote but commit to doing everything we can to invite everyone who is eligible to fully participate. In Illinois, we understand that every vote matters and every vote counts,” said Pritzker. “Illinois will continue to stand strong, even as our country takes a dangerous turn toward deeper disenfranchisement of minority communities. Especially as the Voting Rights Act remains gutted, especially as jurisdictions across the nation purge voter rolls and restrict registrations in college towns and communities of color, here in Illinois, we’ll do our best to live up to the ideals of our democracy.”

House Bill 2541 promotes civic engagement in the criminal justice system by providing re-entering citizens with a non-partisan civics peer education program within 12 months of discharge from IDOC or Department of Juvenile Justice. HB2541 takes effect on Jan. 1.

“These policies are an example of what’s possible when we come together in the name of restorative and transformative justice,” said Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton. “I thank Gov. Pritzker for signing these bills into law and working alongside the JEO to create a justice system that better reflects our values.”

House Bill 94

House Bill 94 incentives participation in education and rehabilitation programming in DOC. Individuals with severe sentences entering DOC before June 19, 1998 – when truth in sentencing laws were enacted – are now eligible for sentencing credit for sentencing credit for completing the following:

  • 90 days of sentencing credit for completing 45 days or more of substance abuse treatment programming, correctional industry assignments, educational programming, behavior modification programming, sex offender treatment programming or life skills courses
  • 180 days of sentencing credit for earning a bachelor’s degree
  • 180 days of sentencing credit for earning a master’s or professional degree

HB 94 takes effect immediately.

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