Decarcerate Illinois

We call on lawmakers to end our reliance on incarceration, reduce the need for such a crippling corrections budget and improve public safety. We support Illinois prison closures and support efforts to swiftly reduce Illinois' record-high prison population. Illinois must instead invest in prison alternatives, community-based services and support for people after incarceration.

From commitment to action! Please oppose bills that increase incarceration and support bills that help people stay out of prison.

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Recent News

First steps taken in state’s criminal justice overhaul
Gov. Bruce Rauner joined with lawmakers on March 2 to introduce three bills meant to begin reforms to the state’s criminal-justice system.
Urgent! OPPOSE HB4775, because all students deserve an education. Witness slip
√ CHECK. WE DID THIS!
OPPOSE HB4775
√ CHECK. WE DID THIS! OPPOSE HB4775: allows schools to expel students convicted of a violent felony
SUPPORT HB3668
√ CHECK. WE DID THIS! SUPPORT HB3668: elderly prisoners who pose no threat to society should be released
SUPPORT HB5686
√ CHECK. WE DID THIS! HB5686 improves the guardianship process to better serve children
SUPPORT HB4538
√ CHECK. WE DID THIS! HB4538 provides for meaningful review of the decision to try a child as an adult
Support the Campaign for Common Sense Discipline
√ CHECK. WE DID THIS! SB3004/HB4655 and SB2793: Fixing school discipline to improve school safety, raise academic achievement, and save taxpayer dollars
Fast Action! PROPONENT of HB4084 by Tuesday April 1 10:00 a.m.
√ CHECK. WE DID THIS! HB4084 automatically expunges juvenile arrest records.
Urgent! OPPOSE HB5927! No DE FACTO life sentences for youth!
√ CHECK. WE DID THIS! THIS BILL IS BACK IN RULES COMMITTEE. STAY TUNED. Youth with life sentences (JLWOP) just won a major decision by the State Supreme Court to be granted re-sentencing hearings. Stop this bill that would give them all DEFACTO life sentences.
Fast Action! PROPONENT of HB3668 by Tuesday March 25 at 9:30 a.m.
√ CHECK. WE DID THIS! IT PASSED COMMITTEE! HB3668 allows elderly prisoners to receive sentence reductions
Fast Action! OPPOSE SB3383 - witness slips needed by Thursday March 20 at 9:00
√ CHECK. WE DID THIS! Oppose SB3383: implements overly punitive measures against people convicted of sex offenses.
Fast action! PROPONENT of SB3012 by Thursday March 20 8:30 AM
√ CHECK. WE DID THIS! SB3012 ensures legal counsel to minors interrogated in custody
Fast action! PROPONENT of HB4538 by Monday March 24 3:00 PM
√ CHECK. WE DID THIS! HB4538 restores individualized sentencing for minors
Fast action! PROPONENT of HB3224 by Thursday March 20 8:30 AM
√ CHECK. WE DID THIS! HB3224 eliminates the mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years of probation for minors convicted of forcible felonies.
URGENT: We need witness slips against Rahm’s mandatory minimum bill by 2:00pm on November 5th!!
√ CHECK. WE DID THIS! TOMORROW, NOVEMBER 5, 2013, AT 2:00 PM, the Illinois House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on an amendment to increase the mandatory minimum sentence for gun possession charges (SB 1342). Decades of empirical research demonstrate that mandatory sentences will not reduce gun violence. SB 1342 will not increase public safety, but will dramatically increase costs to the state and our communities
ACTION NEEDED: Oppose Rahm's Mandatory Minimum Bill (SB1342)
√ CHECK. WE DID THIS! **Update: SB1342 was not called for a vote during the December session of the General Assembly! This is great news for the moment, but a version of SB1342 is sure to be reintroduced in the Spring session, so we need to keep up the resistance.** SB1342 contains devastating new mandatory minimum prison sentences for people convicted of weapons-related offenses in Illinois. This post contains an easy link to contact your representatives and speak out.
ACTION NEEDED: Oppose Rahm’s Mandatory Minimum Bill (SB1342) [Updated 12/4/2013]
√ CHECK. WE DID THIS! **Update: SB1342 was not called for a vote during the December session of the General Assembly! This is great news for the moment, but a version of SB1342 is sure to be reintroduced in the Spring session, so we need to keep up the resistance.** SB1342 contains devastating new mandatory minimum prison sentences for people convicted of weapons-related offenses in Illinois. This post contains an easy link to contact your representatives and speak out.
Support HB2401: Create Alternatives to Incarceration
√ CHECK. WE DID THIS! HB2401 would allow Cook County to safely reduce the number of youth being incarcerated by providing youth with cost-effective interventions and resources within their community. HB2401 allows Cook to implement Redeploy Illinois is targeted areas of the county. HB2401 passed the House and needs your support in the Senate. Contact your state senator and ask them to VOTE YES for HB2401.
Support HB2404: Treat 17 Year Olds as Juveniles
√ CHECK. WE DID THIS! Illinois Needs to Join the Majority. Help Illinois join the 38 other states and the federal government in recognizing that 17 year olds are not adult criminals. Raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction to include 17 year olds. HB2404 is good public policy because it (1) benefits public safety; (2) reduces long-term costs associated with criminal convictions; and (3) is consistent with adolescent development research. HB2404 passed the House on April 16, 2013 and needs your support in the Senate. Please contact your state senator and ask them to VOTE YES for HB2404.
URGENT ACTION NEEDED ON HB 1348: Give Youth with Life Sentences a Chance for Review
√ HOLD OFF FOR 2014 VERSION! Please act now for a chance to give youth with life sentences the opportunity to demonstrate that they have changed and matured. This will bring Illinois into compliance with recent US Supreme Court decisions that found that such sentencing practices amount to cruel and unusual punishment.
Every Day is a Call-in Day Against Another Mandatory Minimum in Illinois!
√ CHECK. WE DID THIS! But wWe had a successful call in day on Thursday March 28th, but please keep contacting your legislators and ask them to vote “NO” on HB2265.
HELP GET SB1659 Through the House: Tax credits to Hire People with Records
√ CHECK. THIS BILL PASSED AND IT IS AN AMAZING ACCOMPLISHMENT! But wSB1659 passed the Senate but we need a lot of pressure in the House. Please act now to encourage employers to give people the chance to turn their lives around and to reward those who do.
OPPOSE HB2265/SB1003: Mandatory Minimums Destroy Lives and Do Not Make Us Safer
√ CHECK. WE DID THIS! But we will continue to update you on this bill! Tell your legislators to oppose HB2265/SB1003 which would increase the mandatory minimum for weapon-related offenses. Do not let legislators pretend to address the problem of gun violence by sweeping more young people in prison. HB2265/SB1003 would spike the prison population by 4000 and cost $974 million in just ten years, for no public safety gain.
SUPPORT HB3061: Give People a Chance to Seal Their Record and Move On from a Past Mistake
√ CHECK. WE DID THIS! If you want to help people with records rebuild their lives, please take 10 seconds to tell your legislators to support the sealing of these six criminal records. The sealing of old convictions promotes (1) self-sufficiency; (2) makes Illinois safer; and (3) saves Illinois millions.
A Decade of Prison Sentences from 2 Percent of Neighborhoods Cost $5.3 billion
Taxpayers are spending billions to incarcerate Chicagoans who hail from a small fraction of the city’s blocks
Fast Action: Senate Floor Vote SB1659 (Tax Credits to Hire People with Records)
√ CHECK. WE DID THIS AND IT WON THE SENATE BY A LANDSLIDE. Contact your legislators to support SB1659 by Weds, March 12. Easy link provided!
Fast Action: PROPONENT of HB2404 to Raise the Age of Juvenile Court to 18 for All Offenses
√ CHECK. WE DID THIS! Please help raise the age of juvenile court to 18 for all offenses. Youth age 17 should be tried in juvenile courts. They need and deserve the mental health, drug treatment, and community-­based services available to youth in the criminal legal system.
Sat, March 23: First Meeting of NEW House Restorative Justice Committee!
√ CHECK. WE DID THIS! Come to the Town Hall Restorative Justice meeting and tell legislators why you support transformative justice.
Fast Action: OPPONENT of HB2265 Mandatory Minimum
√ CHECK. WE DID THIS BUT IT PASSED. SEE NEXT ACTION ITEM! Oppose HB2265 which increases the mandatory-minimum for weapon-related offenses. Do not let legislators pretend to address the problem of gun violence by sweeping more young people in prison. HB2265 would spike the prison population by thousands in just a few years, for no public safety gain.
Fast Action: PROPONENT of SB1659 and HB1547
√ CHECK. WE DID THIS! We went online to list ourselves as PROPONENTS of SB1659 and HB1547 to give $1500 tax credits to employers who hire formerly incarcerated people.
Close Dwight: A Very Strong Plan
√ CHECK. WE DID THIS. DWIGHT IS CLOSED. Dwight Correctional Center is being closed. The IDOC is preparing Logan Correctional Center to receive the women from Dwight and Lincoln. Advocates have researched the new organizational plan for Logan and we like what we see.