Criminal justice reform is a hot topic these days. Every state and even the federal government seems to be working towards trying to change the criminal justice system to help make it fairer and to reduce prison populations.
In Illinois, a recent move to bring some changes within the system is happening with HB 3653. It moved through the House and Senate to reach the desk of the governor, who has shown support for it throughout the process and should sign it into law.
One of the main points of the bill is to increase the protection of the rights of those under arrest and better treatment for those within the prison system. The new law will bring about changes in sentencing and end cash bail.
The ending of cash bail is addressing concerns that bail is overwhelmingly discriminatory against lower-income individuals who often end up sitting in jail waiting for their court dates because they cannot afford to post bail. Without bail, the courts will allow those facing non-violent offenses to leave custody to await their court dates. Those facing violent offenses will have no option but to stay incarcerated until they have their day in court.
The second main point of the bill is to increase the accountability of law enforcement. The new law would increase training for officers in many areas of need, such as mental health identification, crisis intervention and de-escalation training.
It also introduces new training standards and a certification system. It makes body cameras a requirement for all officers when on duty with a goal date of 2025. The law also makes some changes to policies, such as banning chokeholds.