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Office of the Governor

March 10, 2017

Governor Rauner Signs Legislation to Improve Illinois' Criminal Justice System

Allie Bovis

Legislation includes parts of recommendations by the Illinois State Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform

CHICAGO – Governor Bruce Rauner today, joined by Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago), Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth (D-Peoria), ICJIA Director John Maki, and other elected officials in Chicago, signed Senate Bill 2872, legislation to ensure we can safely reduce our overuse of prison and help make our communities safer. SB 2872 is the most comprehensive criminal justice reform Illinois has enacted to date.

“By signing the bill, we're doing what's right for the people of Illinois,” said Governor Rauner. “For years our criminal justice system has been broken. This bill embodies the right way to safely reduce the overuse of our prison system while making our communities safer. Together, we can reduce our prison population by 25 percent by 2025.”

SB 2872 charges the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA), the state’s public safety research agency, to provide strategic planning and technical assistance to help communities effectively address trauma victims’ experiences, particularly in communities with high levels of crime. It strengthens the discretion judges can use to ensure that offenders receive the appropriate punishment, including probation as an alternative to being sent to the Illinois Department of Corrections. It also expands opportunities for inmates to participate in rehabilitative programming, which is the most effective way for IDOC to reduce recidivism.

“For too long the only response to crime in our communities has been locking people up. Today our prisons are overflowing but many people are returning back to their communities worse off than when they went in. Incarceration as the singular response to crime and victimization isn’t working to make us safer,” Rep. Gordon-Booth said. “Meeting the needs of crime victims means fixing our broken criminal justice system. That is why we must change our focus from incarceration to real safety: trauma recovery services for victims, crime prevention and rehabilitation. We have a long road ahead of us, but I am hopeful when I see this historic coalition of Democrats and Republicans who have come together to pass this bill."

“There’s been a lot of focus on violence in Chicago and what we do know is that a lot of people young and old suffer trauma from this ongoing violence," Sen. Raoul said. "Untreated trauma can lead to more violence. Having trauma recovery centers in communities is an important element to dealing with the overall violence problem.”

"This bill is the most comprehensive and important criminal justice reform Illinois has enacted to date," ICJIA Director John Maki said. "It is a model for how states should address crime and the overuse of incarceration. It creates opportunities for inmates to earn credit by participating in rehabilitative programs, strengthens judicial discretion, and focuses existing resources on helping victims and communities most impacted by crime heal."

The legislation included parts of recommendations made by the Illinois State Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform in its efforts to reduce the state’s current prison population by 25 percent by 2025.

Additional information on the Illinois State Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform can be found here.

Video of the event will be posted here.


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