Decarcerate Illinois

We call on Illinois lawmakers to take a realistic view of what community safety means and how to achieve it. Our current systems have been failing individuals, families, and communities for generations. The needs of survivors are not being met and the current system disrespects and harms accused and convicted people, making them and their families unsafe. We can no longer condone the harms of our current laws and allow them to continue to separate families and perpetuate harm for generations. Let's act!

From commitment to action! Please support bills that offer a truly progressive step forward in ending our reliance on carceral policies and toward proven policies for community safety for all.


URGENT ACTION NEEDED ON HB 1348: Give Youth with Life Sentences a Chance for Review

Apr 18, 2013 | by admin

√ 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.

This link makes it easy to contact your legislators to tell them to support HB1348.

Easy link to support HB1348

In June 2012, the United States Supreme Court held in Miller v. Alabama that mandatory life without parole sentences for youth is unconstitutional and violates the 8th Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

The ruling in Miller affirms that kids are different. Therefore, children should be sentenced in a way that holds them accountable for their actions while also recognizing their youthfulness and their potential for change. Miller is the fourth consecutive Supreme Court decision requiring that children—because they are biologically different from adults—must be treated differently from adults in criminal proceedings.

Illinois’ current sentencing schemes, which do not take into account children’s inherent immaturity and inherent capacity for rehabilitation, are now unconstitutional and must be fixed. House Bill 1348 will create a constitutional, fair and age-appropriate sentencing scheme that brings Illinois into compliance with the Miller decision.

House Bill 1348 establishes a sentencing framework that is in compliance with Miller, and considers youthfulness and all its unique characteristics at the time of sentencing. The current legislation also creates a rigorous judicial review mechanism that gives a young person sentenced to life or “de facto” life their first meaningful opportunity to demonstrate their maturity and rehabilitation after 15 years, another 10-20 years later, and a third review at age 60 if permitted by a judge. HB1348 also allows for meaningful victim participation during the review process.

Urge your representatives today to cosponsor and vote for HB1348 and SB1858 in order to create a constitutional and fair sentencing scheme for Illinois youth.

Easy link to support HB1348