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Illinois has passed laws over the past three decades that extended sentencing ranges, instituted mandatory sentencing enhancements, and eliminated “time off for good behavior.” These laws have created a net that catches young people and never lets them go; particularly those convicted of the most serious crimes.
Restore Justice trains and supports advocates, conducts research, nurtures partnerships, and develops policy solutions that will roll back the “tough on crime” policies of the past, replacing them with compassionate, smart, and safe policies for the future.
By enacting evidence-based policies and providing support, even “violent” offenders can change and rejoin the community.
Current sentencing laws ignore recent research, which shows that adolescent brains are not fully formed.
The American Law Institute’s most recent MPC sentencing provisions advise multiple judicial reviews for all sentences of 40 years or more as best practice.
The US Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that children must be treated differently at the time of sentencing and in opportunities for release.
Restore Justice educates policy-makers and engages advocates in promoting positive solutions.
On May 25, 2017, the Illinois General Assembly sent HB 2989 to Governor Bruce Rauner for his signature. The bill, approved unanimously in both chambers, ensures that incarcerated individuals in Illinois are not deprived in-person visits due to the availability of video visits. The bill also mandates that the Illinois Department of Corrections publish the number of in-person visits each individual is entitled to per week and month; better explain identification requirements for visitors, and post daily any restrictions or denials of visitation for that day and the succeeding 5 calendar days. If signed, the bill, sponsored by Representative Justice Slaughter (D – Chicago), will go into effect on January 1, 2018.
Restore Justice educated policy-makers on high phone rates in Illinois prisons, assisting the efforts of Representative Carol Ammons (D – Champaign) in her effort to pass HB 6200 during the 2016 legislative session. Now Public Act 099-0878, the law caps phone charges at 7 cents per minute, a reduction of almost 50 percent. Restore Justice participated in this effort to ease the financial burden of communications among families with loved ones prison.
Restore Justice Illinois was a strong proponent of this measure. The new law took effect on January 1, 2016.