Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker on Monday signed legislation aims at overhauling Illinois’ criminal justice system.
According to the Chicago Tribune and other source, the legislation will abolish cash bail in Illinois beginning in 2023, require police officers statewide to wear body cameras by 2025, eliminate requirements for signing sworn affidavits when filing complaints against officers, and create a more robust statewide system for tracking police misconduct and decertifying officers who commit wrongdoing.
A state of Illinois news release says the legislation “ends a pretrial detention system that benefits the wealthy, expands training and wellness programs for law enforcement, modernizes sentencing laws, and prioritizes treatment and rehabilitation for low-level drug crimes.”
“This legislation marks a substantial step toward dismantling the systemic racism that plagues our communities, our state and our nation and brings us closer to true safety, true fairness and true justice,” Pritzker said in the news release.
“In this terrible year, in the middle of a brutal viral pandemic that hurt Black people and Brown people disproportionately, lawmakers fought to address the pandemic of systemic racism in the wake of national protests. This bill was also infused with solutions from individuals most directly impacted: survivors of domestic violence, survivors of crime, and those who have been detained pre-trial only because they are poor. ”
State officials say House Bill 3653 expands safety, fairness, and justice by transforming the state’s criminal justice system and enacting statewide police reforms through the following:
- Moves Illinois from a system of pretrial detention that prioritizes wealth, to one that prioritizes public safety.
- Diverts low-level drug crimes into substance use programs and treatments.
Modernizes sentencing laws and streamlines the victims’ compensation system.
- Requires more investments in officer training, mental health, and officer wellness.
- Expands training opportunities for officers, requires health and wellness services for officers, and protects officers from unjust lawsuits based on their reasonable actions.
- Sets statewide standards on use of force, crowd control responses, de-escalation, and arrest techniques.
- Requires the use of body-worn cameras by police departments statewide.
- Professionalizes policing through the creation of a more robust certification system and lays out clear standards and processes for decertification.
- Expands accountability across police departments by requiring the permanent retention of police misconduct records and removes the sworn affidavit requirement when filing police misconduct complaints.
- Requires police departments to develop plans to protect vulnerable people present during search warrant raids.
- Eliminates license suspensions for unpaid fines and fees due to red light camera and traffic offenses.
- Ends prison gerrymandering.
- Expands services for crime victims.
HB 3653 was an initiative of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus and the culmination of nine public hearings, 30 hours of testimony, and countless meetings with law enforcement, community members, and advocates.
HB 3653 is effective July 1, 2021, except for certain provisions that are effective either Jan. 1, 2022, (use of force changes), Jan. 1, 2023, (Pretrial Fairness Act), and Jan. 1, 2025, (prison gerrymandering).
SOURCE: state of Illinois news release