* From the Kearney Courier…
Gov. Bruce Rauner’s goal to reduce the state’s prison population by 25 percent can be achieved, but only if extensive changes are made to the criminal justice system, according to two members of a state commission that issued recommendations on prison reform.
Retired 11th Judicial Circuit Judge Elizabeth Robb and Andrew Leipold, law professor at the University of Illinois College of Law, were panelists Wednesday for a forum sponsored by the McLean County League of Women Voters and the Central Illinois chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. Both served as members of Rauner’s commission to develop proposals to cut the state’s prison numbers by 25 percent by 2025. […]
Robb cited current drug laws with enhanced penalties as one of the areas recommended for change by the commission. The add-ons for selling drugs near schools and parks disproportionately affect African Americans in urban areas and “are not effective and not a deterrent,” said Robb.
Commission members also reviewed the reasons people are sent to prison and explored alternatives to incarceration, including a law that has added 700 people to the inmate population for stealing vehicles.
“We can make a cut in the prison population by changing that law,” said Robb.