Illinois lawmakers will vote Monday morning on a bill that would enhance Illinois’ already harsh sentencing policies, but not reduce violence. This proposal is a continuation of harmful public policies that studies have shown are ineffective.
The Illinois General Assembly will convene for the “Lame Duck” session on Monday, January 9, 2017. One of the bills that legislators will consider is SB 1824 HFA 6. This legislation is worse than a mandatory minimum proposal because it is a sentencing hike added to existing mandatory minimums, more than doubling them and turning them into presumptive maximum sentences.
Research shows that tougher sentences have not and will not deter gun violence and enhance public safety. Nonetheless, Illinois has increased gun possession sentences six times since 2000, tripling the number of people in prison for possessing a weapon. Still, we have experienced record levels of violence. As part of our Platform for Renewal for FORCE, we oppose any new legislation that expands mandatory minimums or enhances Illinois’ already harsh sentencing policies.
There are more effective options lawmakers can take to reduce violence. We joined nearly 50 organizations supporting Building a Safe Chicago: Calling for a Comprehensive Plan to Reduce Violence, which allows for a public health approach, regulation of illegal gun flow, tailored sentencing, effective policing, and economic development.
Illinois lawmakers need to stop passing piecemeal sentencing laws that are unlikely to increase public safety, but will instead increase Illinois’ overcrowded and expensive prison system. Take action now and send an email to your legislators to oppose SB 1824 HFA 6.