If there’s one thing both sides of the political aisle in Illinois agree on it's the need for fundamental reforms to the state’s criminal justice system. 

On Monday, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, surrounded mostly by Democrats, signed a series of bills dealing with criminal justice issues. 

State Sen. Jacqueline Collins, D-Chicago, says one bill addresses inmate phone calls. “By ending the practice of allowing for profit contractors to charge exorbitant rates for inmate phone calls we are enabling families to stay connected.”
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State Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago, said other bills ensure ex-offenders get a second chance for employment. “We are working systematically to remove barriers to reemployment, and I applaud the governor signing of both the school system employment bill and the park district employment bill.”

Rauner said punishment is important, but the state must also focus on rehabilitating offenders. 

One law Rauner highlighted was ensuring that judges publicly explain why a youth should continue probation. “Too often being locked away in either having to go to jail or be under constant scrutiny and being under probation prevents a young person from getting a job and beingrehabilitated.” 

The governor also talked about other ways to deter crime in Illinois, and that’s to have a competitive, booming economy, “creating good jobs in every neighborhood, in every community; No. 1.” 
“No. 2,” Rauner said, “we can have an excellent school providing high quality teaching and skills development in every neighborhood, and every community.” 

The governor continues to push for reforms to reduce the state’s prison population 25 percent by 2025.
(Copyright WBGZ / www.AltonDailyNews.com)