The Illinois House has approved a package of criminal-justice reforms to aid crime victims and reduce prison populations.
The plan won House approval 83-26 on Monday and moves to the Senate. It includes additional counseling and other services for crime victims paid with federal funds. It would allow prisoners to complete improvement programs to shorten their sentences. Judges would have more leeway to order probation in drug cases.
Peoria Democratic Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth says her measure would reduce Illinois’ prison population - a goal of Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner. And Gordon-Booth says it would help ex-inmates rejoin the community and heal families affected by violence.
Some lawmakers questioned whether there would be money in a state budget crisis for new initiatives.
Yeah, well, then how about passing a budget?
* From the bill’s synopsis…
Provides that the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority shall conduct strategic planning and provide technical assistance to implement comprehensive trauma recovery services for violent crime victims in underserved communities with high-levels of violent crime, with the goal of providing a safe, community-based, culturally competent environment in which to access services necessary to facilitate recovery from the effects of chronic and repeat exposure to trauma. Provides that services may include, but are not limited to, behavioral health treatment, financial recovery, family support and relocation assistance, and support in navigating the legal system.
Amends the Unified Code of Corrections. Changes sentence credit for good conduct in specific instances to earned sentence credit for good conduct in specific instances as the Director of Corrections deems proper. Deletes provisions that an offender may not receive probation, periodic imprisonment, or conditional discharge for certain drug offenses, or for Class 2 felony offenses that are not sex offenses or firearm offenses if the offender has received a sentence for a Class 2 felony and has previously been convicted of a Class 2 or greater felony. Provides that a period of probation, a term of periodic imprisonment or conditional discharge shall not be imposed for a Class 2 or greater felony sex offense or felony firearm offense if the offender had been convicted of a Class 2 or greater felony, including any state or federal conviction for an offense that contained, at the time it was committed, the same elements as an offense now (the date of the offense committed after the prior Class 2 or greater felony) classified as a Class 2 or greater felony, within 10 years of the date on which the offender committed the offense for which he or she is being sentenced, except as otherwise provided in the Alcoholism and Other Drug Abuse and Dependency Act.