Bills reducing the complexity and length of the Illinois Criminal Code and creating an advisory body to analyze state sentencing laws and the impact sentencing changes would have on the criminal justice system were signed this week by Gov. Pat Quinn. The were a product of the Criminal Law Edit, Alignment and Reform (CLEAR) Commission, composed of legislators, prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges, law enforcement representatives, and other experts. Earlier this year, Quinn signed legislation implementing the commission’s recommendations to make the Illinois Code of Corrections easier to understand without altering the severity of punishment for crimes.
The new Illinois Sentencing Policy Advisory Council will be housed in the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority. “There is no shortage of ideas about how to change the system, but too often the impact of proposed changes is not well understood,” said former Gov. James R. Thompson, co-chair of the CLEAR Commission. “When policy changes are being debated, the public and their elected representatives now will have a place to go for solid, non-partisan information, including evaluation of changes in other states, prison population projections, and the latest research in the field.”