Improving Criminal Justice in 2020

From the Desk of John McLees…

The good work being done by many organizations to understand the operation of our criminal justice system, and to improve it, continues to accumulate. 

In addition to checking out the events and opportunities for volunteering and training listed here for the new year, there are a number of year-end reports that deserve our attention, including:

Please note in particular the first annual report of Governor Pritzker’s Justice Equity and Opportunity Initiative –, issued last week by Illinois Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton, which sets forth the Governor’s ambitious agenda to eliminate cash bail, divert low level drug offenses from the criminal justice system, and reduce the use of mandatory minimum sentences.

The Illinois legislative session will be gearing up soon with many specific proposals for justice reform.  We hope that you will consider kicking off the season by writing to your Representatives to ask for their support of House Bill 1615, which would limit the scope of prosecution for Felony Murder, which now results in convictions on very serious charges of those who did not participate in the criminal act in question.  If you don’t know the name of your Representative, you can find it here:, and for your convenience here is a draft letter on this topic that you can modify and send. CLICK HERE.                                   

Please also take advantage of the new year to check out and subscribe to some of the regular reports on justice-related issues and opportunities, including the following: