information provided by the Office of the Governor
CHICAGO, Ill. (August 26, 2019) — Making critical reforms to improve the lives of justice-involved Illinoisans, Governor JB Pritzker signed a package of legislation last week expanding voting rights, civic engagement, and educational and rehabilitation programming in Illinois’ criminal justice system.
Governor JB Pritzker said, “Illinois will continue to stand strong, even as our country takes a dangerous turn toward deeper disenfranchisement of minority communities. Especially as the Voting Rights Act remains gutted, especially as jurisdictions across the nation purge voter rolls and restrict registrations in college towns and communities of color, here in Illinois, we’ll do our best to live up to the ideals of our democracy.”
“These policies are an example of what’s possible when we come together in the name of restorative and transformative justice,” said Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton. “I thank Governor Pritzker for signing these bills into law and working alongside the JEO to create a justice system that better reflects our values.”
Senate Bill 2090
Senate Bill 2090 expands voter access and education efforts in jails across the state. The new law takes the following steps to allow individuals to exercise their right to vote:
- Directs county jails and local election officials to establish a process that allows detainees awaiting trial to cast their ballots during elections
- Establishes a temporary polling place at the Cook County Department of Corrections
- Directs the Illinois Department of Corrections and county jails to provide a voter registration application and detailed information about their voting rights, including notification that their voting rights have been restored, to any person in custody eligible to vote for those being released
- Clarifies that for in-person voting, non-partisan poll watchers are limited to one per division within the jail, instead of one per precinct and requires in-person voting to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act
SB 2090 takes effect immediately.
House Bill 2541
House Bill 2541 promotes civic engagement in the criminal justice system by providing re-entering citizens with a non-partisan civics peer education program within 12 months of discharge from the Illinois Department of Corrections or Department of Juvenile Justice. This program will consist of three 90-minutes sessions of voting process, government and current affairs that is taught by incarcerated citizens who are specially trained by established non-partisan civic organizations.
HB 2541 takes effect on January 1, 2020.
House Bill 94
House Bill 94 incentives participation in education and rehabilitation programming in the Department of Corrections. Individuals with severe sentences entering DOC before June 19, 1998—when truth in sentencing laws were enacted—are now eligible for sentencing credit for completing the following:
- 90 days of sentencing credit for completing 45 days or more of substance abuse treatment programming, correctional industry assignments, educational programming, behavior modification programming, sex offender treatment programming or life skills courses
- 180 days of sentencing credit for earning a bachelor’s degree
- 180 days of sentencing credit for earning a master’s or professional degree
HB 94 takes effect immediately.