SIGNIFICANT 2017 ADULT AND JUVENILE Justice Legislation PASSED BY THE ILLINOIS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
JUVENILE RECORD CONFIDENTIALITY AND EXPUNGEMENT
HB 3817 (Rep. Elaine Nekritz and Sen. Michael E. Hastings) At the direction of the General Assembly last year, the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission researched the state’s juvenile record confidentiality and expungement practices and made a series of recommendations to strengthen the confidentiality of arrest and adjudication records and to expand eligibility for record expungement. Championed by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, this bill would enact several of the recommended reforms, which will help youth rebuild their lives without jeopardizing public safety.
JUVENILE JUSTICE IN SCHOOLS
HB 2663 (Rep. Juliana Stratton and Sen. Kimberly Lightford) Early childhood programs receiving state grants would be discouraged from using expulsion as a response to behavior problems; would be required to train staff about available interventions; and would provide annual reports to the State Board of Education.
HB 3903 (Rep. Juliana Stratton and Sen. Toi Hutchinson) Police booking stations in schools would be prohibited. The bill does not prohibit police in schools, but on-site stations are viewed as harmful to the learning environment, unnecessary and unhealthy for the development of improved police-community relations.
JUVENILE JUSTICE REFORM
HB 3165 (Rep. Juliana Stratton and Sen. Kwame Raoul) The bill would require Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) staff to receive training in restorative justice practices.
SB 931 (Sen. Julie A. Morrison and Rep. Scott Drury) Aimed at limiting time a minor is placed unnecessarily in an institutional setting, the bill requires the public agency to file a report with the court no later than 15 days after the minor remains: (1) in a shelter placement beyond 30 days; (2) in a psychiatric hospital past the time when the minor is clinically ready for discharge or beyond medical necessity for the minor's health; or (3) in a detention center or state prison solely because the public agency cannot find an appropriate placement for the minor.
SB 1519 (Sen. Heather Steans and Rep. Patricia Bellock) DJJ requested this bill to speed hiring of staff and reduce costs. The bill would reduce education and specialty requirements for some staff positions and eliminate a statutory requirement that DJJ use certified mail to notify parents when a child is moved from one prison to another.
HB 2373 (Rep. Camille Y. Lilly and Sen. Don Harmon) The bill would expand eligibility for the sealing of felony convictions, allowing more people to petition the court for consideration. Sealing helps people secure employment, housing and educational opportunities that can otherwise be denied because of past criminal records.
SB 1688 (Sen. Kwame Raoul and Rep. Elgie R. Sims, Jr.) The bill would create a common set of factors that the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation must consider when making professional licensure decisions about applicants with conviction records. By standardizing mitigating and rehabilitative factors for consideration and eliminating excessive barriers, the bill would promote successful reentry and reduce recidivism.
GUN LAW SENTENCING
SB 1722 (Sen. Kwame Raoul and House Republican Leader Jim Durkin) For the seventh time since 2000, this bill would increase the length of sentences for certain gun crimes. Backed by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the minimum penalty for a second time felon in possession of a firearm would increase from three to seven years unless the sentencing judge presented a written reason to lower the prison to between three and seven years. Opponents argued Illinois penalties already are among the longest in the nation and no research exists to prove longer sentences will reduce gun crimes. To address some concerns, the sponsors included a limited program to divert some first time gun offenders and agreed to a repeal of the sentencing provision in 2022 when the legislature can evaluate the impact of the change.
SB 2034 (Rep. Elgie Sims and Sen. Donnie Trotter) The bill creates the Bail Reform Act of 2017. It requires that judges at bail hearings carry a rebuttable presumption against the use of cash bail in all hearings, but stops well short of banning its practice. It also requires that judges use the least restrictive conditions of bail necessary to ensure a criminal defendant’s return to court and that judges must also consider the socio-economic of a defendant when imposing any bail conditions. The bill mandates that all defendants must be given access to an attorney for bail hearings and allows for some non-violent defendants who have been given a cash bond, but cannot afford to pay it, be given an automatic 2nd bond hearing after seven days.