Earlier this year, Governor Bruce Rauner announced a lofty goal: he wants to reduce the state’s prison population by 25 percent by the year 2025. Several initiatives and criminal law reform laws have been put into place since that announcement, and all are aimed at achieving that goal. Is it really working, though, or do they at least have the potential of doing so? The following explores the recent reforms, and their potential efficacy. It also provides some important information for anyone currently facing criminal charges in the state of Illinois.
Diversion Programs and Nonviolent Crimes
Over the last several decades, the “War on Drugs” created a major surge in the number of people arrested for nonviolent crimes, and it continues to result in countless arrests. Worse yet is that many wind up being arrested, charged, and convicted of subsequent crimes. This is often because the true nature of their issue is never really addressed (i.e. addiction, etc.).
To reduce this risk of recidivism (re-offending), the state has implemented several diversion programs. One example is the use of a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program for someone being charged with possession of a drug or driving under the influence. Thought not appropriate for everyone or every situation, these programs can improve outcomes for some. An attorney can help you determine if this option is right for you.
Record Sealing Reform Can Improve Employment Options
One of the biggest struggles that convicted offenders face is the reentry back into society. Many of struggle to find gainful employment and suitable housing. This can greatly increase their risk of recidivism. In fact, one study showed that almost half of all of Illinois’ ex-offenders return to prison within three years of their release. Yet only 18 percent of offenders able to find gainful employment end up incarcerated again during that same time frame.
Several initiatives to help improve employability have been implemented, including the ID bill , which gives offenders a way to obtain a state-issued ID, and the record sealing reform bill. A criminal defense lawyer can help you determine if any of these options might be available to you.
Contact an Experienced Illinois Criminal Defense Lawyers
If you or someone you love is facing a criminal charge, contact a skilled Will County criminal defense attorney for assistance. We will protect your rights every step of the way. Dedicated and experienced, we will pursue the most favorable outcome possible. We offer free, personalized consultations to address your legal needs and concerns. Call 815-740-4025 and schedule yours today.