Fall Update on Criminal Justice Reform

From the Desk of John McLees

Upcoming Events and Legislative Update:

As we go into the fall, here is information on some upcoming events in Illinois, along with a legislative update for Illinois and some useful reports from Brennan Center for Justice on the impact of criminal justice reform legislation over the past decade and on model criminal justice legislation, including the text of laws that have passed in some states and model legislation drafted by the Brennan Center.

 Upcoming Events in Illinois:

  • Thursday October 3 through Thursday October 12 –  (In)Justice For All Film Festival, featuring more than 30 films, shown free of charge at locations around Chicago, including the screening  with panel discussion at 7:00 p.m. on Monday October 7 at Fourth Presbyterian Church on North Michigan Avenue, of Stateville Calling, a documentary film that explores the challenges facing an aging prison population – Go to https://www.injusticeforallff.com for                 descriptions, dates, times and screening locations of all of the films in the Festival.
  • Friday, October 4, Restorative Justice citywide meeting, at the Juvenile Temporary Detention Facility auditorium, 1100 South Hamilton – following up on the 2018 Restorative Justice Summit – for more information, please send a note to rjsummitevent@gmail.com.
  • Friday, October 4, Shriver Center on Poverty Law Annual Gala, 5:00 – 9:30 pm, at the Palmer House  Hotel, 17 East Monroe, featuring a conversation with Trevor Noah – Learn more and purchase tickets at povertylaw.org/gala.
  • Now through October 12 , Envisioning Justice Exhibition, Tuesday through Saturday 11am to 6pm, at SAIC’s Sullivan Galleries, 33 S. State Street., 7th floor –  Visit the Illinois Humanities website for more information.
  • Tuesday, October 1518th Annual Safer Foundation CARRE Policy Conference on the subject: It’s All Connected: Developing a Holistic Approach to Reentry, 9:00 to 4:00 at UIC at 750 South Halsted, #520 Click here for more information and to register for the conference, which is       free of charge.
  • Friday, November 1, WBEZ’s Podcast Passport presents a live discussion: Inside Ear Hustle, 7:30 to  9:00 at the Studebaker Theater at 410 South Michigan – about the origin and evolution of the Ear Hustle podcast, which offers insight into daily life inside and after prison, shared by those living it – Learn more and purchase tickets at https://www.wbez.org/events/wbezs-podcast-passport-presents-inside-ear-hustle/6066


Legislative Update: Illinois Legislative Efforts


  • The ACLU’s 2019 Illinois Legislative Wrap Uphttps://www.aclu-il.org/en/news/2019-aclu-illinois-legislative-wrap includes suggested Action Items for supporting enactment in Illinois of the proposed License to Work Act, of legislation to Ban the Box in Higher Education, and of legislation for Defelonization of Drug Possession and for Increasing the Felony Thresholds for Property Crimes.
  • Brennan Center for Justice Reports on Model State Legislation and on the States’ Progress in Reducing the Rate of Incarceration Here are links to report of The Brennan Center on the simultaneous reductions in the rate of incarceration and the amount of crime over the past decade, showing how Illinois lags behind 24 other states in reducing its prison population during that period: https://www.brennancenter.org/blog/between-2007-and-2017-34-states-reduced-crime-and-incarceration-tandem
  • And to its December 2018 report: Criminal Justice Solutions: Model State Legislation¸ which contains text of model legislation to address a wide range of criminal justice issues, including eliminating incarceration for lower level crimes, making sentences proportional to crimes, abolishing cash bail, reforming prosecutorial incentives, reforming marijuana laws, calibrating fines to defendants’ ability, eliminating fees, reducing opioid deaths, and curbing the number of women entering state prisons:  https://www.brennancenter.org/publication/criminal-justice-solutions-model-state-legislation