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Potential Revised Criminal Sentences in Illinois

July 28th, 2014 at 11:01 am

Chicago criminal defense attorney, criminal justice reform, criminal sentences, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, prisoner rehabilitation, revised criminal sentencesAccording to a recent news article, lawmakers in Illinois may soon be considering a reduced criminal sentencing structure. While lawmakers are reconsidering the criminal sentences imposed on certain offenders who are convicted of crimes of a lower level in favor of shorter sentences, they maintain the state is not easing up on crime. Rather, the state legislator who is behind the idea to form a committee tasked with reconsidering the sentencing guidelines says it is more about acting more effectively, and less about letting criminal offenders get off scot-free for their offense.

Joint Criminal Justice Reform Committee

The legislator who is behind the possible revision is Representative Michael Zalewski, who reportedly sponsored a bill in the Illinois General Assembly that would create a Joint Criminal Justice Reform Committee. The committee would be asked to examine options in an effort to improve the chances a prisoner could be rehabilitated while also decreasing the amount of time they remain incarcerated. The group would use research conducted by the Illinois Sentencing Policy Advisory Council (SPAC) as a foundation for their revision suggestions. Zalewski allegedly advocates for a broader approach to sentencing in the criminal courts, one that involves acknowledging the difference between a drug offenders of a lower level and a felon who possesses a gun.

The Resolution

Zalewski’s resolution recounts some alarming facts about the current system of criminal justice in Illinois. Illinois supposedly spends about $1.3 billion annually to house adult prisoners in the state. It costs approximately $86,861 per year to incarcerate a single juvenile offender. Further, there is a constant problem of prison overpopulation, while crime rates remain relatively high in communities across the state. The information contained in the SPAC’s report addresses some of these issues, and also includes the recidivism rate, parole violations, and the effect of criminal sentencing enhancements on the state’s bottom line.

The committee is expected to take the SPAC’s report into account in determining whether to lower time in prison for defendants convicted of certain minor offenses. It follows other national research, which reveals that prison may act as a deterrent, but offers little rehabilitative value for those who commit minor nonviolent crimes. A portion of the focus of the committee will also include minimizing the effect the sentencing guidelines have on minority groups.

The suggestion to form such a committee comes after Illinois has taken other steps in revising its approach to crime. This includes the requirement of videotaping interrogations, the reduction of the crime of prostitution to a misdemeanor, and making expungements easier to obtain for those criminal defendants who have been successful at rehabilitation.

Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime, it is advisable to consult with an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley have successfully defended clients in many types of criminal matters. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to discuss your case. We serve clients in Chicago and the greater surrounding area.

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