Illinois Lawmakers Tackle Criminal Justice Reform

Local News

Legislators, educators and law enforcement officers agree; there’s a problem.

“Corrections spending has grown at more than six times the rate of education spending,” Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth said.

This is why she spent Monday pushing the Neighborhood Safety Act.  The bill addresses three sectors. It provides help to crime victims through trauma recovery services and provides help to inmates through rehabilitation in jail or prison.

“If they are better prepared through programs that are offered through DOC, when they come back it maybe looks like more gainful employment, but the idea behind it is they are less likely to offend,” Peoria Police Chief Jerry Mitchell said.

But the bill also would give more discretion to judges. 

“If they discern that there is a reason to go under the minimum, to go under the mandatory minimum, the judges will have the ability to do so. We think that that is a good thing,” Gordon-Booth added.

It turns out, crime victims say the same thing.

“Despite you know, kind of the popular assumption that victims support long sentences and prison expansion, we found the opposite,” Alliance for Safety and Justice President Lenore Anderson said.

A recent survey from the organization finds 70-percent of victims in Illinois want a more balanced approach to public safety to help stop the cycle of crime.

“Most victims want one thing more than anything and that is for what happened to them to never happen again,” Anderson added.

The bill has made a lot of movement in the General Assembly Monday passing through the House. 

Rep. Gordon-Booth said she is confident it will get to the governor’s desk soon.
 

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