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Another win for criminal justice reform

Tuesday, Jan 10, 2017

* AP

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.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - RNUG - Tuesday, Jan 10, 17 @ 10:01 am:

    Reducing prison populations is one way to achieve some long term budget savings. Wonder if this will count as reform?

  2. - Anon221 - Tuesday, Jan 10, 17 @ 10:09 am:

    Rauner wants criminal justice reform. Bills like this have helped, and can help him achieve that goal. However, before he gets out his veto pen next time, or trashes budgets, stopgap or otherwise, he needs to stop and think about the bigger picture, not in terms of silos. You cannot keep harping away on the word salad of job growth, reforms, and better education and expect the hard change to occur. Hard change is realizing that the programs that provide “behavioral health treatment, financial recovery, family support and relocation assistance, and support in navigating the legal system” are not just part of the criminal justice system. These vital programs are the human and social and education programs that interconnect WITH the criminal justice system, and weave together a strong web of community throughout our state. So, continue to divide and conquer as a governor, or have a “come to” awareness reflection. Change is hard, and personal change can be the hardest change of all. So why make it harder for the People you chose to serve?

  3. - Matt Jones - Tuesday, Jan 10, 17 @ 10:22 am:

    OK Rich, how about some recognition that, ONCE AGAIN, the State’s Attorneys and other law enforcement embraced and supported these reforms. The Rep. did a great job of reaching out to us to be sure, but the unnatural allies on this deserve some recognition as well. When we oppose a so-called reform, we get chided, but when we support, sometimes a difference maker between passage or not, nary a mention. Just Sayin’

  4. - A guy - Tuesday, Jan 10, 17 @ 10:24 am:

    ==Reducing prison populations is one way to achieve some long term budget savings. Wonder if this will count as reform?==

    I can’t imagine why it wouldn’t. It certainly will on the unofficial score cards.

  5. - Lobo - Tuesday, Jan 10, 17 @ 10:38 am:

    The class 2 sentencing reform allowing probation on a second class 2 (if convictions are within 10 years) is the largest sentencing reform the GA has passed in a great many years. The most common class 2 offenses are burglary (to a car) and class 2 low level (

  6. - Lobo - Tuesday, Jan 10, 17 @ 10:48 am:

    Dealing (

  7. - Lobo - Tuesday, Jan 10, 17 @ 10:52 am:

    Sorry my iPad is hemorrhaging…this bill will, by my back of the envelope math reduce the IDOC pop by an easy 4000 in 10 years. With IDOC population at about 47000, this is a massive relief valve. That its getting so little attention is odd. Very huge sentencing credits as well. 90% of inmates formerly ineligible, are now eligible for 180 day credit.

  8. - Precinct Captain - Tuesday, Jan 10, 17 @ 11:12 am:

    Worthless without a budget

  9. - A guy - Tuesday, Jan 10, 17 @ 11:42 am:

    ==Worthless without a budget==

    Not true.

  10. - Precinct Captain - Tuesday, Jan 10, 17 @ 12:04 pm:

    ==- A guy - Tuesday, Jan 10, 17 @ 11:42 am:==

    “Some lawmakers questioned whether there would be money in a state budget crisis for new initiatives.”

    Specifically where are the funds coming from A Guy?

  11. - Chicagonk - Tuesday, Jan 10, 17 @ 12:31 pm:

    It would be nice if they tied this in with tougher sentencing for violent crimes in light of what is going on in Chicago right now.

  12. - Elwood Blues - Tuesday, Jan 10, 17 @ 5:34 pm:

    This bill opens several violent repeat offenses up for probation, and shorter sentences through IDOC credits. With so many GOP votes and the Governor’s signature, will be interesting to see how it plays into the upcoming election cycle, which is sure to be toxic…

  13. - Curt - Wednesday, Jan 11, 17 @ 12:16 am:

    The states attorneys want credit for this. Ok. The exception proves the rule.

    I’ll give to them if they accept blame for any and all progress they have hindered–for decades.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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