Final report presented to governor
The final report from the Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform was presented to Gov. Bruce Rauner on Jan. 10.
Thirteen new recommendations in the report build on what the commission presented to the governor last year, recommending a total of 27 changes.
“This report is another important step in repairing our broken criminal justice system and safely reducing the prison population by 25 percent over ten years,” Rauner said in a news release.
“While our work is not over in achieving this goal, we have made significant achievements in changing the system. We will carefully review the commission’s latest recommendations, and I thank the commissioners for their diligent and thoughtful work.”
The new recommendations cover a variety of topics within the criminal justice system, including:
•Increasing rehabilitative and treatment services in high-need communities; training on racial and ethnic bias for all people working in the criminal justice system.
•Collecting data on race and ethnicity at every point of the criminal justice system for a comprehensive, system-wide analysis.
•Realigning sentence recommendations to focus on rehabilitation while still holding people accountable and promoting justice.
“The commission identified a number of avenues to transform Illinois’ criminal justice system to safely reduce the prison population,” commission chairman and public safety director Rodger Heaton said.
“It is important to reduce the state’s overreliance on incarceration, but do so in a way that is thoughtful and holistic so that it preserves and improves public safety.
“These recommendations, if implemented fully and executed effectively will achieve the governor’s goal of reducing the prison population by 25 percent in ten years.”
Rauner signed Executive Order 15-14 to create the Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform and charged the commission to research ways to safely reduce the prison population by 25 percent over 10 years. Since that time, Illinois’ prison population has declined by 9.6 percent.
“Illinois has become a leader in reforming the criminal justice system because of Governor Rauner’s leadership on this important issue,” said John Maki, commission member and Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority executive director.
“By implementing these recommendations, we will be shaping a system that better balances punishment with rehabilitation to reduce recidivism, which will create safer and stronger communities.”
Last year, the commission submitted 14 initial recommendations to the governor, many of which have been implemented at the Illinois Department of Corrections.
The Illinois General Assembly also passed two bills based on the original 13 recommendations.
In addition, SB2872 contains a number of elements from the commission’s recommendations.