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We work to roll back ineffective “tough on crime” policies of the past, and to help replace them with compassionate, smart, and safe policies for the future. We keep a tight focus on extreme sentences and their impact on families and communities.
We’re a 501 (c) 4 organization that utilizes it’s resources to engage in direct legislative advocacy at the state level.
Our “sister” organization, Restore Justice Foundation, conducts outreach, engages in research, provides advocacy training, and supports partnerships with other criminal justice reform efforts.
HB 531 – now Public Act 100-1182 – creates new parole opportunities for those under 21 coming into the system today with extreme sentences ahead of them—the first new opportunity for parole in this state since the practice was abolished in 1978. Individuals seeking review will have the right to an attorney and the Prisoner Review Board will be required to consider the hallmark features of youth and subsequent growth when making their determinations.
On Friday, August 3, 2018, Governor Bruce Rauner signed HB4741—which had previously been unanimously approved in both the House and the Senate—into law. Now Public Act 100-0677, the law increases the minimum number of visits each Illinois inmate allowed to 7 visits per month. It also requires that the Illinois Department of Corrections expand the number of unique contacts each inmate is allowed to have on their visiting list to 30 (up from 20) and requires that visitation lists be kept electronically.
On Friday, August 18, 2017, Governor Bruce Rauner signed HB 2989—which had previously been unanimously approved in both the House and the Senate—into law. Now Public Act 100-0142, the law ensures that individuals incarcerated in Illinois are not deprived in-person visits due to the availability of video visits. The law also mandates that the Illinois Department of Corrections publish the number of in-person visits each incarcerated person is entitled to per week and month, better explain identification requirements for visitors, and post daily any restrictions or denials of visitation for that day and the succeeding 5 calendar days. The legislation, sponsored by Representative Justice Slaughter (D – Chicago), will go into effect on January 1, 2018.
Restore Justice educated policy-makers on high phone rates in Illinois prisons, assisting the efforts of Representative Carol Ammons (D – Champaign) to pass HB 6200 during the 2016 legislative session. Now Public Act 099-0878, the law caps phone charges at 7 cents per minute, a reduction of almost 50 percent. Restore Justice participated in this effort to ease the financial burden of communications among incarcerated individuals and their loved ones.