The task force charged with finding ways to reduce the state’s prison population by 25 percent will soon issue its recommendations.
State Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) says he’s enjoyed his work on the Illinois State Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform, which he says will submit its initial recommendations in January.
Its plan will address several issues within the criminal justice system, including sentencing guidelines and barriers for employment for ex-offenders.
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“So we’re doing all of this with an eye towards public safety with the specific goal of reducing the prison population by 25 percent and creating better justice and fairer justice in the process, and looking at the kind of kneejerk things that we’ve done in the past that don’t make sense and cost taxpayers much more than they should be paying,” Raoul said.
While there does seem to be bipartisan support for many of these changes, Raoul says some measures won’t be easy to sell to lawmakers, such as reforming sentences for violent crimes.
He expects the commission’s final recommendations will be ready by March, and he hopes the General Assembly can then address many of those issues before next spring’s session ends.