“I have expunged more than 800,000 low-level cannabis arrest records… We have invested hundreds of millions of dollars to lift up communities most harmed by the failed war on drugs.”
By Andrew Hensel, The Center Square
A law now on the books in Illinois looks to make it easier for individuals who have been released from prison to smoothly reenter society.
Senate Bill 423 supports the reintegration of individuals into the community while aiming to lower the possibility of recidivism and increasing public safety.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) signed the measure into law on Friday.
“In just a few minutes, I am going to sign legislation that focuses our mandatory supervised release system on creating successful outcomes for those who were formerly incarcerated and improves the safety and peace of our communities,” Pritzker said.
According to the latest data from the Illinois Department of Corrections, Illinois has 29,672 people incarcerated. That’s down from 36,910 in March 2020.
The law Pritzker signed Friday is intended to help individuals who have been affected by the war on drugs.
“I have expunged more than 800,000 low-level cannabis arrest records on top of pardoning an additional 26,000 people who committed nonviolent offenses,” Pritzker said. “Illinois has reduced our prison population by more than 26 percent in the last four years. We have invested hundreds of millions of dollars to lift up communities most harmed by the failed war on drugs.”
A news release said the measure, which goes into effect January 1, 2024, aims to promote public safety and community success by implementing criminal justice reforms the governor’s office said include improving education credits while streamlining early termination processes and increasing government transparency by standardizing review timelines and encouraging officers to recommend early termination.
The law will also provide an individualized approach to each person’s unique circumstances, focusing on addressing the root causes of crime and enhancing public safety, the governor’s office said. The measure also limits what the governor’s office said is unnecessary drug testing and expands virtual reporting permanently for remote check-ins for all forms of supervision.
“I’ve always said, I’m open to commonsense, bipartisan criminal justice reform which offers people a second chance as long as we maintain accountability,” state Rep. Mike Marron, R-Fithian, told The Center Square. “I think this bill actually meets that standard and had broad bipartisan support. I agree with the governor on this one and just wish he would follow this way of bipartisan policy-making more often.”
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