August 23, 2016

SPRINGFIELD — State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) lauded  the signing of several criminal justice reform measures he sponsored this year as part of a larger push for commonsense, data-driven approaches to law enforcement, sentencing, incarceration and the reintegration of ex-offenders.

“Illinois is again pushing forward as a pioneer of criminal justice reform – because it saves money, because it saves lives and communities and because it’s the right thing to do,” Raoul said. “These new laws on juvenile justice, expungement, access to licensed professions and sex offender registration policies will help bring the realities of criminal justice in line with its aims of genuine public safety and lasting rehabilitation.”

Two of the measures deal with juvenile justice. House Bill 6291 addresses the fact that Illinois is an outlier in requiring lengthy probation periods for youthful offenders; it reduces mandatory terms of probation and gives courts greater discretion to terminate o...

August 2, 2016

SPRINGFIELD – Since 2002, the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Foundation has given deserving students scholarships to assist them in advancing their academic and career goals. This year, the ILBCF will give 62 students $1,000 scholarships, which brings its total over $420,000 scholarship since the organizations inception. In light of Illinois current budget situation, the ILBCF believes that our scholarship program is pivotal in helping provide students with resources for achievement.

“Our budget situation has put some students behind and forced several thousand to drop out of college,” said Assistant majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford, Joint Chairman of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus. “It’s a shame that there are groups within government who feel college assistance is a luxury.”

The ILBCF has raised the bar by providing more scholarship this year than ever before. One of the requirements to apply for the scholarship was having an updated voter registration file, which regist...

August 1, 2016

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) is pleased to announce the governor has signed her legislation ending Illinois’ practice of discouraging parolees from worshipping, doing community service and participating in mentorship programs together.

“Freedom of association in positive settings can facilitate a smooth reentry into society and help those on parole obtain the help and resources they need to succeed outside the prison walls,” Collins said. “When parolees mentor and encourage each other, engage in job training together, worship or volunteer together, they can build up their peers and their communities.”

Current law prohibits individuals who are on parole, aftercare release or mandatory supervised release from knowingly associating with others who are also under one of these restrictions without the written permission of their parole agents or aftercare specialists. This limitation is designed to prevent ex-offenders from returning to former criminal as...

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