Our legislative focus areas
In Illinois, a number of sentencing laws converge to create a system that consistently results in extremely long prison terms. While touted as a strategy to make our justice system more fair and effective, research shows that policies like these lead to little to no reduction in crime, while contributing heavily to overcrowded prisons. Restore Justice supports policies that would eliminate or reduce mandatory minimums, roll back firearm enhancements, and otherwise change the laws that rigidly increase sentence lengths or restrict judges from applying appropriate sentences.
Prison conditions and practices
The human, social and economic costs of our current prison state are intolerable – change can’t wait any longer. Restore Justice supports efforts to move Illinois corrections towards a model that values rehabilitation over punishment. This includes making healthcare more affordable for people who are incarcerated, allowing family and loved ones to visit them more often, and reducing the use of solitary confinement as a punitive measure.
In 1978, Illinois abolished the practice of parole. Then, 20 years later, the state passed so-called “truth-in-sentencing” laws, which restrict the ability of many people who are incarcerated to earn time off their sentences. This means many people who enter prison in Illinois have few meaningful ways to work toward their release. Restore Justice supports efforts to give rehabilitated people more meaningful pathways to earn their release. Currently, that means restoring Illinois to its pre-1978 parole-for-release system and rolling back truth-in-sentencing laws.