Gov. Rauner Signs Illinois Criminal Justice Reform Bill

CHICAGO (CBS) – Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed legislation Friday in the hopes of making communities safer and reducing the overuse of prisons in the state.

WBBM’s Lisa Fielding reports.

Sen. Kwame Raoul, Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth and Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority director John Maki joined Rauner to sign Senate Bill 2872. The legislation, called the Neighborhood Safety Act, charges the ICJIA with expanding access to trauma recovery services for crime victims. Sen. Raoul emphasized the importance of dealing with trauma in communities dealing with ongoing violence.

“Untreated trauma can lead to more violence. Having trauma recovery centers in communities is an important element to dealing with the overall violence problem,” he said.

The new bill should also help motivate inmates to participate in rehabilitation programs, including job training and substance abuse programs. Rep. Gordon-Booth said this could help people more than overflowing prisons.

“We are doing more to deal with crime and violence than just merely incarcerating people by throwing them into institutions predominately in downstate Illinois where they’re coming out far worse than when they went in,” she said.

The Neighborhood Safety Act should also give judges more discretion to ensure offenders receive appropriate punishment. Gov. Rauner said state government did right by the people of Illinois through signing the legislation.

“For years our criminal justice system has been broken. This bill embodies the right way to safely reduce the overuse of our prison system while making our communities safer,” he said.

The bill included some of the recommendations made by the Illinois State Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform. The group and the Neighborhood Safety Act’s signees hope to reduce the state’s prison population by 25 percent by 2025.

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