Today we joined more than two dozen community groups and criminal justice reform to issue a report urging Chicago’s elected leaders to reject reactionary and unproven crime fighting policies and instead attack the root causes of violence with a comprehensive crime prevention plan.
Community Renewal Society, FORCE, and our member congregations call upon members of the Illinois General Assembly and the Governor to oppose any new legislation that expands mandatory minimums or enhances Illinois’ already harsh sentencing policies. Sentencing enhancements fail to reduce crime, while creating longer sentences, disrupting families, and costing our state millions of dollars.
“Building a Safe Chicago” argues against mandatory minimum prison sentencing schemes in favor of a comprehensive plan that should include:
- Expansion of community-based programs to improve social conditions that have led to increased demand for illegal weapon possession;
- Reduction in illegal handgun availability by regulating gun shop owners;
- Reduction in gun possession charges by identifying and addressing the causes of the repeat offenses;
- Enactment of the reforms advocated by Mayor Emanuel’s Police Accountability Task Force; and
- Economic development initiatives in high poverty neighborhoods.
“An intelligent and equitable public safety strategy will realign public spending priorities to channel resources into strengthening — not suppressing — citizens most at risk, while paying special attention to reducing opportunity gaps across all public services,” according to the report. “Doing so will create a smarter, healthier, more stable and productive Illinois — and a safer Chicago.”
The full text of “Building a Safe Chicago” is available on the website of the Children and Family Justice Center at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law.