Adriane Johnson, Current State Senator for Illinois’s 30th District

Party affiliation (options: Democrat, Republican, Independent, other):


QUESTION 1: There are several areas of criminal sentencing law that help fuel long-term incarceration. For each of the policy areas below, please indicate if you support changes. Expand on your answer if you would like to share additional comments. 

Mandatory gun enhancements: Judges must add 15 years to the sentence of a person 18 and older who possesses a firearm during a crime. For those ages 17 and younger, judges have the discretion to decide whether to add the gun enhancements. 

Should Illinois make gun enhancements discretionary for everyone, even adults?

YES, Illinois should make gun enhancements discretionary based on the fact of each case. Mandatory enhancements is another way of locking Black people up for an excessive amount of time that could be prevented with a discretionary approach to adding enhancements.

Accountability: Accountability theory allows individuals to be convicted of the same serious crimes as their co-defendant(s) in an underlying felony, even if they did not directly participate in or plan to participate in the other crime. Should Illinois abolish or narrow the usage of accountability theory?

YES, Illinois should abolish this legal mechanism. the only person who should be held accountable for a crime is the person who committed the offense. We know that minors or even adults get caught up into a situation that was not planned or agreed upon.

Earned sentencing credits: In Illinois, most individuals serving prison time are unable to earn time off their sentences for good behavior or for successfully completing rehabilitative programming because of a “truth in sentencing” law passed in 1998. This reduces incentives for good behavior and decreases safety in prisons. Should Illinois restore earned sentencing credits to pre-1998 levels?

YES, Absolutely. Truth in Sentencing is just another mechanism for prolonging time spent in jail for Black and Brown people. If we want to help people, we must reward them for good behavior and bring back rehabilitative programming.

Parole review: Parole is early earned release and allows people who are rehabilitated to come home. Since Illinois abolished parole in 1978, the only people who are eligible for parole are those who were sentenced before 1978 and most young people under 21 who were convicted after June 2019. Should Illinois restore parole as a system for early release?

YES, We must consider the behavior, efforts of incarcerated individuals who attain degrees and other skills, the opportunity for parole. Prisons are big business in Illinois and our Nation.

Life without parole sentences for children and young adults: Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Miller v. Alabama, Illinois created parole review opportunities for most people 20 and younger entering the system. Youth could still serve their full sentence if the Prisoner Review Board and Governor reject their application for early release. Should Illinois now expand parole opportunities to all individuals convicted before age 21?

YES, Illinois should absolutely consider expanding the opportunity for parole to all individuals who were 20 and younger when they committed a crime. We know that children and younger adults under 21 are still developing and the rational part of their brain isn’t fully developed until roughly around the age 25.

QUESTION 2: In 2021, the General Assembly created the Resentencing Task Force to consider innovative ways to reduce the prison population by exploring pathways for resentencing review. The Task Force will release its recommendations to the Legislature later this year. Given that Illinois eliminated parole or earned early release for most people in 1978, should people who are serving long sentences and who are rehabilitated be allowed the opportunity to apply for early release?

YES, I would support allowing people who are rehabilitated the opportunity to petition the court for another look at their sentence. This is fair approach to restoring the life of so many people who are being unfairly penalized and punished.

QUESTION 3: What do you think are the best ways to address violence and ensure community safety? 

Violence is multi-faceted so that it is going to take a multi-prong approach to ensuring community safety. We must invest in historically disinvested communities and provide the same level of resources and support that we provide in white communities — separate from property taxes.

QUESTION 4: What are your general thoughts on the criminal legal system in Illinois (i.e., anything related to policing, incarceration, prosecution, sentencing, or re-entry), and what do you see as the biggest opportunities for improvements over the next several years? Have you experienced any parts of the criminal legal system firsthand, whether through your own personal experience or that of a family member or friend, that you’d like to share?

We must continue to reform our criminal justice system because we know there are different, unwritten standards for Black and Brown people. Minorities make up the highest percentage of incarcerated people – this truly is an extension of slavery. We must also provide resources, jobs, housing, counseling, and treatment for formerly incarcerated people to set them up for success and to ensure they do not recidivate. We must eliminate prison-after-prison once and for all.
  • Thank you for your interest.

    Please leave us a message and we will respond as soon as possible.

      Your Name (required)

      Your Email (required)

      Your Phone Number

      Your Message

    • Join Us In Our Fight To Restore Justice.

      Submit your email address to be notified of crucial legislative action items, fundraisers, and news about our progress.

        Your Name (required)

        Your Email (required)