Both law-and-order types and people known for social justice are on a new “restorative justice” committee in the Illinois House of Representatives. “I understand the pain and anguish of the family members of those who might be set free because of legislation we have here,” said State Rep. Mary Flowers (D-Chicago).

“The trend in many states is to look at the restorative justice model,” said State Rep. Dennis M. Reboletti (R-Elmhurst), a former prosecutor, “and to look at opportunities to try to save the state money, but, at the same time, rehabilitate those that we can and keep those locked up that we cannot.”

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“I read recently that Illinois’ average daily prison population has hit an all-time high … and I think that the most important thing we can do is restore people to a whole life,” says the committee’s chairman, State Rep. La Shawn Ford (D-Chicago). Ironically, Ford is one of three members of the General Assembly now under indictment – in Ford’s case, bank fraud, an allegation unrelated to his service in the General Assembly and a charge Ford is fighting.

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