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Author Topic: Joint Legislative Criminal Justice Reform Committee Meeting Sept23 - IMPORTANT  (Read 27259 times)

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Offline Forevermah

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One of the States Attorney's spoke about the programs they have implemented in the county/district, drug and other courts and a young man, they called  Joe. He was 20 and been in trouble for drugs and mental issues.  He was picked up for theft and was probably looking at time in IDOC. 

They diverted him into some of the programs they have established in their drug and other courts and got him the help he needs both for the addiction problem and his mental health issues and it payed off.  He is in college now doing very well, hasn't touched anything substances and he is on the right path now at the age of 23.


These are the type of programs we need, to help people instead of locking them and most get nothing inside, only to be released and repeat the process.   They are finding success with some with these programs and keeping them OUT of IDOC.

I believe they asked this witness for more information and to possibly come back too.



I know many here on IPT now, would have given anything for their LO to be able to go through programs like this instead of being inside IDOC now and on the other hand, the person in trouble has to want this and show that they are worthy of it, it would not be offered to just anyone. 
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Offline webmari

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Thank you Mah for the update. I so wished I could attend those meetings, but am too far away. I plan to come over towards fall or winter and if I do I will hope that I can pick a time when there is another meeting that I could attend. I can imagine that it will take lots of this kinds of meeting. But the fact that they started them and plan to continue is already a good thing!

Offline Forevermah

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Thanks to Jaf too any one else that goes and reports back.  I am still waiting on some official notes and will post when we get them, especially on Bill Ryan's testimony on the Elderly Bill.
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Offline Forevermah

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The WHY of IL prison overcrowding

By Tony Arnold



Cook County’s state’s attorney wants stricter prison sentences for repeated gun offenders. But the county’s top public defender questions that.

A panel of state lawmakers are evaluating why Illinois’ prisons are overcrowded - and if the right people are behind bars. To find the answer, they heard testimony from Cook County’s top prosecutor Anita Alvarez. She says the right people are NOT in prison.

"These repeat gun offenders know and understand our system. Gang members themselves have told us that they think our gun laws are a joke."

Alvarez also wants to reduce the penalties for low level marijuana charges. But the county’s top public defender,  AC Cunningham says the prisons are overpopulated because of state policies - not because there’s more crime.

"Are we trying to rehabilitate, or are we trying to change society’s ills through incarceration?"

Lawmakers also heard complaints that someone driving on a suspended license can be put in prison longer than someone who hits a police officer.

http://peoriapublicradio.org/post/why-il-prison-overcrowding
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Offline Forevermah

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The Joint Criminal Justice Reform Committee was established to “examine the impact of current sentencing structure, ensure the enforcement and punishment of crime does not disproportionally or unfairly affect certain racial, ethnic, or other groups, and develop solutions to address the issues that exist within the system.”

Given racial disparities in criminal sentencing and dire conditions inside Illinois prisons, the
formation of this committee seemed promising. But if the first public hearings are any indication, neither serious discussion nor broad public input will occur. The committee will hold more hearings before the final report is submitted in December, and I hope that the process improves dramatically.

At the two hearings I attended, suggested time frames were ignored, so most of the speakers had very little time. The disregard for time and structure was at odds with the purpose of public hearings: to provide a forum for many voices to be heard. I wanted to represent the voices and experiences of elderly people in prison, but my already meager amount of time (3-5 minutes) was cut in half.

Mass incarceration is a moral crisis. This committee needs to think expansively about how to
address a range of critical matters. How can we lower the recidivism rate? How can we
eliminate overcrowding? How can we prevent wrongful deaths and medical malfeasance inside
prisons? How can we eradicate the racial bias that occurs at every juncture of the system, from
surveillance to arrest to prosecution to sentencing? How can we align sentencing practices with
human rights standards?

I hope that we are at the beginning of an effort to fashion a criminal justice system driven by
fairness and democratic principles rather than fear and cynicism. Illinois can build on its
courageous decision to confront, rather than deny, the failures of the death penalty. We need
an honest assessment of what is happening to men, women, and teenagers in prison. The time
is now to redirect our resources and policies. I look forward to a more deliberative and fair
process at subsequent hearings.

Bill Ryan


Please Contact Committee Members and let them know your concerns, now is the time for comprehensive reform!!
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Offline jaf

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The next TWO meetings of this committee will also be held in Chicago (grrrr)

Sept 23rd at 10 am - - and Oct 14th at 1:30 pm   

they will be in room C600 at the  Bilandic Building
 

Offline Forevermah

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Re: Joint Legislative Criminal Justice Reform Committee Meeting Sept23 IMPORTANT
« Reply #46 on: September 22, 2014, 04:34:35 PM »

 





 

As Illinois' only non-partisan prison watchdog, the John Howard Association is part of a growing and diverse coalition of elected officials and policy advocates who believe that the country needs to safely reduce its use of incarceration.

 

In the past several years, conservatives have played a leading role in this movement, driving some of the most innovative and effective reform in the country.

 

JHA is proud to bring one of the leading conservative criminal justice reform leaders to Illinois, Marc Levin.

 

The Policy Director of Right on Crime, Levin's work has attracted the support of leading conservative figures, as he and his initiative advocate for reduced reliance on expensive prisons as a response to crime and more cost-effective approaches to enhancing public safety. POLITICO Magazine recently recognized Levin in its annual list of the nation's top 50 "key thinkers, doeers and dreamers reshaping American politics."

 

On Tuesday, September 23rd at 10 a.m., Levin will testify before the General Assembly's Joint Criminal Justice Reform Committee. Created earlier this year by a legislative resolution, the Joint Criminal Justice Reform Committee was directed "to examine the impact of the current sentencing structure, ensure that the enforcement and punishment of crimes do not disproportionately or unfairly affect certain racial, ethnic, or minority groups, and develop solutions to address the issues that exist within the system."

 

You can listen to Levin's testimony at the time of hearing on the General Assembly's website: http://www.ilga.gov/senate/audvid.asp

 

In Chicago, you can watch Levin talk about his work on CLTV's Politics Tonight on Monday, September 22nd at 6 p.m.

 

On Tuesday morning at 9 a.m, Levin will be on WBEZ's The Morning Shift, which you can listen to on 91.5 FM in Chicago or online at www.wbez.org.

 
 

John Maki
Executive Director
John Howard Association
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Offline jaf

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It's almost time - if you're like me you might have wanted to listen but then completely forgot when the time came and went. . :)

Here's the info:

On Tuesday, September 23rd at 10 a.m., Levin will testify before the General Assembly's Joint Criminal Justice Reform Committee. Created earlier this year by a legislative resolution, the Joint Criminal Justice Reform Committee was directed "to examine the impact of the current sentencing structure, ensure that the enforcement and punishment of crimes do not disproportionately or unfairly affect certain racial, ethnic, or minority groups, and develop solutions to address the issues that exist within the system."

You can listen to Levin's testimony at the time of hearing on the General Assembly's website: http://www.ilga.gov/senate/audvid.asp

Offline jaf

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oh yikes,  so far it's not coming up on the link below, but I just tried the link to the House.    This one is working:

http://www.ilga.gov/house/audvid.asp#

It's almost time - if you're like me you might have wanted to listen but then completely forgot when the time came and went. . :)

Here's the info:

On Tuesday, September 23rd at 10 a.m., Levin will testify before the General Assembly's Joint Criminal Justice Reform Committee. Created earlier this year by a legislative resolution, the Joint Criminal Justice Reform Committee was directed "to examine the impact of the current sentencing structure, ensure that the enforcement and punishment of crimes do not disproportionately or unfairly affect certain racial, ethnic, or minority groups, and develop solutions to address the issues that exist within the system."

You can listen to Levin's testimony at the time of hearing on the General Assembly's website: http://www.ilga.gov/senate/audvid.asp


Offline jaf

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Oh geez I panicked for nothing. . . it's on both now.   

(where's the cheesy grin icon?)

Offline Forevermah

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Chicago mayor wants state to reform drug laws



By The Associated Press
Posted Sep. 23, 2014 @ 12:27 pm

    CHICAGO — Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday asked state legislators to make possession of less than 1 gram of any controlled substance a misdemeanor in Illinois and possession of less than 15 grams of marijuana a ticketable offense.

    Emanuel said in a news release that the Illinois Legislature should reform sentencing laws for low-level drug offenses because it would save taxpayer money and let police focus on more serious crimes.

    "It doesn't make sense that one arrest for a very small amount of a controlled substance can lead to a lifetime of struggles, sending people in and out of prison and putting up barriers to getting a job or finding a place to live," Emanuel said. "We need action from Springfield."

    Chicago already has an ordinance that lets police write tickets for possession of as much as 15 grams of marijuana instead of making arrests.

    Emanuel, along with Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, testified Tuesday before the House-Senate Joint Criminal Reform Committee. The bipartisan group of legislators is looking at overcrowding in the state's prisons and jails and how to reduce racial disparities in sentencing and the number of people released from prison who commit new crimes.


Read more: http://www.sj-r.com/article/20140923/News/140929787#ixzz3EAWx5Fy0
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Offline chantygirl

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I thought his testimony today was outstanding.  He gave some great suggestions, and sounded to me like he was offering to lend his voice to help pass the legislation (should any be drafted that suits his criteria).

Offline jaf

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Today's hearing was pretty powerful.   

I really loved Marc Levin.  Wow, that guy knows his stuff.  He talked so fast (like me :) ) so I really had to pay attention, and then to hear  s l o w   t a l k i n g   Senator Raul was a shocking change.  He seemed to be having a problem getting into it, too.  Or maybe it was just the contrast? 

 I thought Emanuel got a pretty slow start - at first I couldn't decide whether he didn't know what he was talking about or he was uninterested, perhaps he was reading?  But later in the question and answer part he got more believable.  He especially became convincing when he was defending his Police Commissioner.   I have to admit I yelled at the him when he said that stuff about people not having a state ID.  Seriously, unless your like 5, there's no excuse for not having a state ID, is there? (Semi-serious question.)

Then I had to leave to take my mom to visit her husband in the hospital, but on the way I listened in when I had coverage and I heard a lady answering questions.  Anybody know who she was?  She provided information about what the other states are doing. 

Oh, , and Ben Wolf.   I remember him from my days advocating for foster parents and foster kids.  Nice to have him and his cohorts(ACLU)  involved!  I'd like to say that his law suits made huge differences in DCFS, and they DID make some difference, but sometimes they (DCFS) just got better at saying the right things and not actually following through.  They farmed more of their cases out to private agencies, and then they thought nothing was their fault. 

Anyway, it seems like they're getting on the right track.

Offline chantygirl

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I liked Marc Levin as well.  I liked how fast he talked.  It made me pay closer attention to what he was saying.  When Senator Raul started talking I had a hard time paying attention, but I thought it was just my ADD kicking in.  What really bothered me though, just because it's personal to me, is that they still don't seem to be interested in involving EVERYONE in any type of legislation.  They want to focus on reducing overcrowding by reducing the penalties for drug crimes and the short-timer crimes (which is fine, I'm not complaining), but, the state is going to be out a fortune when all the long-timers (violent crimes) start aging.  If they don't start lowering sentences or including X crimes in on the reduction plans, the prison system is just going to turn into a nursing home. 

Offline jaf

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I liked Marc Levin as well.  I liked how fast he talked.  It made me pay closer attention to what he was saying.  When Senator Raul started talking I had a hard time paying attention, but I thought it was just my ADD kicking in.  What really bothered me though, just because it's personal to me, is that they still don't seem to be interested in involving EVERYONE in any type of legislation.  They want to focus on reducing overcrowding by reducing the penalties for drug crimes and the short-timer crimes (which is fine, I'm not complaining), but, the state is going to be out a fortune when all the long-timers (violent crimes) start aging.  If they don't start lowering sentences or including X crimes in on the reduction plans, the prison system is just going to turn into a nursing home. 

I hate it too that they are so focused on drug crimes.  Especially don't like that they're throwing in ALL drugs. . . . I'm wondering if the rest are just bargaining tools to get the marijuana agreed upon?  Surely they don't want all of it?  Herion?  Seriously?
I don't think I want any.  Allowing any drugs is setting a lot of people up for failure in my opinion. 

That doesn't mean that I don't want any prison reform - far from that. 

Offline Forevermah

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Statement from Legislators and Criminal Justice Reform Advocates on Disgraceful Rauner Campaign Attack Ad

CHICAGO – A coalition of legislators and leading criminal justice reform advocates issued the below statement regarding Republican billionaire Bruce Rauner's new desperate campaign television ad, which misleadingly attacks a program that was shut down by the Governor more than four years ago:

"Bruce Rauner's latest television attack is disgraceful. The truth is the 2009 early release program was shut down by Governor Quinn more than four years ago.

"We worked with Governor Quinn, along with judges, experts and many legislators in both parties to pass one of the strongest criminal justice reforms in the nation and protect public safety.

"The Governor's leadership led to landmark sentencing reforms and a new program, Illinois' Supplemental Sentence Credit program, which is a national model in guarding public safety and providing incentives for non-violent inmates to engage in positive behavior and rehabilitation.

"Fundamentally dishonest attacks such as this Rauner attack ad cheapen the public dialogue on prison reform and distract from real steps needed to make our communities safer.

"The fact that Bruce Rauner is digging up an old, failed attack signifies his increasingly desperate campaign and insults the people of Illinois who deserve a debate on the real issues."

The statement was issued by the following legislators and advocates:
 

SB 2621 Sponsor: State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago)

SB 2621 Sponsor: State Representative Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago)


State Senator Bill Cunningham (D-Chicago)

State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park)

State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago)

State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights)

State Senator Emil Jones III (D-Chicago)

State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria)

State Senator Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge)

State Senator Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago)

State Senator Antonio Muñoz (D-Chicago)

State Senator Donne Trotter (D-Chicago)

State Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago)
 

State Representative Edward J. Acevedo (D-Chicago)

State Representative Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago)

State Representative Linda Chapa LaVia (D-Aurora)

State Representative Will Davis (D-Homewood)

State Representative Marcus Evans (D-Chicago)

State Representative Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago)

State Representative La Shawn K. Ford (D-Chicago)

State Representative Robyn Gabel (D-Evanston)

State Representative Esther Golar (D-Chicago)

State Representative Greg Harris (D-Chicago)

State Representative Lisa Hernandez (D-Cicero)

State Representative Camille Lilly (D-Chicago)

State Representative Christian Mitchell (D-Chicago)

State Representative Elaine Nekritz (D-Northbrook)

State Representative Al Riley (D-Hazel Crest)

State Representative Art Turner (D-Chicago)

State Representative Emanuel Chris Welch (D-Hillside)

State Representative Ann Williams (D-Chicago)

State Representative Michael J. Zalewski (D-Riverside)
 

Todd Belcore

Julie Biehl

Locke E. Bowman

Walter Boyd

Paula Carballido

Cynthia Cornelius

Bob Dougherty

Aisha Edwards

John Fallon

Alison R. Flaum

Aviva Futorian

Rory Guerra

Beth Johnson

Mariame Kaba

Kathie Kane-Willis

Stephanie Kollmann

Shoba L. Mahadev

Alexis Mansfield

Scott F. Main

Alan Mills

Ted Pearson

Pamela F. Rodriguez

Rachel Rosenthal

Bill Ryan

Rev. Al Sharp

Gail T. Smith

Amber Smock 

Anita Weinberg

Malcolm C. Young
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Offline Forevermah

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Rep. Mike Zalewski and Sen. Kwame Raoul: Working toward real criminal justice reform in Illinois



Posted Jan. 4, 2015  10:05 pm



    Our criminal justice system in Illinois is broken. We incarcerate far more people than our prisons and jails can handle, and too often where being behind bars is not an effective punishment.

    Yet for some of the most violent criminals, our punishments are not severe enough, and they are freed to commit crimes that ruin too many lives.

    For the past six months, we have worked with a bipartisan group of our colleagues to find answers for this enormous problem. While the path ahead will not be easy, we are prepared to present real solutions to produce long-term reform.

    The Joint Criminal Justice Reform Committee, co-chaired by Sen. Mike Noland and Rep. Mike Zalewski, met all summer and fall to consider the central question of how to rebalance Illinois’ criminal justice system. We heard hours of testimony from everyone with a stake in this system: mayors and county presidents, police and state’s attorneys, correctional officer representatives and advocates who have considered these challenges for decades.

    We also made site visits to facilities in Cook County and downstate to see the problems firsthand.

    The report we submitted outlines our work in great detail. Among the issues we discussed:

    n how the state’s prison population has grown eightfold in the past 40 years.

    n how state correctional officials are working to evaluate each inmate to maximize security and reduce return incarcerations.

    n how county jails and juvenile facilities are dealing with their own surges in population;

    n how to divert low-level drug offenders from prison; and

    n how alternative sentencing programs work in other states and could be implemented in Illinois.

    Now the real work begins as we prepare to consider legislation to address these critical points during the 2015 session of the General Assembly.

    We will look to expand the use of assessment tools to evaluate the risk of offenders before they are sentenced and expand electronic monitoring and in-field drug testing to lessen the populations in county jails. We will consider reducing penalties for low-level drug offenses and thefts and also look at how sentences requiring offenders to serve minimum periods behind bars affect the population and offenders’ chances of committing additional crimes.

    We will review how we handle juvenile offenders, when they are transferred to adult courts and prisons, and how intervention programs can be developed and provided more effectively.

    We will look to expand programs aimed more at prevention and rehabilitation for offenders than incarceration, such as mental health, drug and other specialized courts; probation and second-chance programs; community corrections and redeploy programs.

    Most importantly, we will seriously debate who we are putting behind bars and why. Our goals are to ensure our system provides hope and redirection for low-level offenders who do not need to be imprisoned or who should not return once they are released, and to ensure the violent, dangerous criminals are locked away where they cannot continue to wreak havoc on our streets.

    - These problems developed over decades and will take time to turn around. But we cannot afford to let them grow any longer. We must work for real reform this year and find a different way to keep our citizens safe and change lives.

    Rep. Mike Zalewski is a Democrat from Riverside. Sen. Kwame Raoul is a Democrat from Chicago.




Read more: http://www.sj-r.com/article/20150104/Opinion/150109866#ixzz3O37r8jSK
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Offline jody0122

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I would like to give my input because my husband to be has been incarcerated on driving with no license and fleeing to elude since March of 2012 and will not be elgible for parole until Sept 2016 .It was non dui sober as could be he was trying to get to hospital.
We have small child together and it is our son who suffers This seems to be stiff sentence for nonviolent crime an allot of prison overcrowding is caused by driving without license offenses If I could write letter or give input please let me know how to do so


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