Friday, October 14, 2016

Illinois: Rauner's Reforms

In today's Chicago Sun Times, Governor Bruce Rauner says that that State has been "in critical need of criminal justice reform" for "years." He notes that, over the last 40 years, the State's prison population has risen from 10,000 to nearly 49,000 and adds:
... once offenders enter our criminal justice system, they experience a process that is out-of-date, costly, inhumane and ineffective. It doesn’t work for taxpayers, it doesn’t work for our employees and it doesn’t work for offenders. Illinois’ criminal justice system has failed to enact policies that would help to rehabilitate offenders so that they are ready to live productive lives. Nearly 50 percent of former offenders return to prison within three years after their release, either by committing new crimes or violating the terms of their supervised release. 
Rauner argues the people of Illinois "believe in redemption" and "second chances," because we all need "at one time or another" a "second chance to turn a wrong into a right."

In order to avoid "needlessly tearing families and lives apart," the State must "reform our broken criminal justice system," balance punishment with rehabilitation to reduce crime overall, reduce the prison population, reduce recidivism, and "help those who have paid for their crime find a positive path in life after serving their time."

Calling "criminal justice reform" one of his administration’s "top priorities," he has established the Illinois State Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform. He is closing Stateville Correctional Center’s F House (an old, costly prison housing unit) and reopening and repurposing the Illinois Youth Center at Murphysboro. See full editorial here,

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