Illinois Criminal Justice Panel Issues More Reform Ideas

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A criminal justice commission created by Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has produced its final recommendations, adding another 13 to its list. Those recommendations include training to recognize “implicit racial and ethnic bias” among law-enforcement officers, judges and lawyers, as well as collecting data on race and ethnicity to understand how minorities are disproportionately affected by such bias, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. Other new recommendations include reducing the minimum sentences for many felonies; reducing sentencing classifications for felony drug crimes, and limiting the maximum term of mandatory supervised release to 18 months for many felonies.

The sweeping recommendations, released yesterday, also include restoring the Halfway Back Program as an alternative to incarceration for those who violate mandatory supervised release, and reducing the area from 1,000 feet to 500 feet for charging people with drug crimes committed near parks, churches, schools, and senior citizen facilities. “This report is another important step in repairing our broken criminal justice system and safely reducing the prison population by 25 percent over 10 years,” Rauner said. “While our work is not over in achieving this goal, we have made significant achievements in changing the system.” Rauner created the Illinois State Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform in February 2015. The governor’s office says the state’s prison population has since declined by 9.6 percent.


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