Prison Conditions and Practices
In recent years, the Illinois Department of Corrections has been sued across multiple class action suits on issues ranging from inadequate medical care to physical and sexual abuse at the hands of militarized tactical squads. These suits point to the degrading and potentially criminal conditions in correctional facilities, which may end up costing taxpayers millions in payouts and settlements.
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In Illinois, a number of sentencing laws converge to create a system that consistently applies extremely long prison terms. While touted as a strategy to make our justice system more fair and effective, research shows that policies like these lead to little to no reduction in crime, while contributing heavily to overcrowded prisons. Restore Justice supports policies that would eliminate or reduce mandatory minimums, roll back firearm enhancements, and otherwise change the laws that rigidly increase sentence lengths or restrict judges from applying appropriate sentences.
In 1978, Illinois abolished the practice of parole, or early conditional release. Then, in 1998, the state passed so-called “truth-in-sentencing” laws, which restrict the ability of many people who are incarcerated to earn time off their sentences. This means many people who enter prison in Illinois lack opportunities to work towards their release. Restore Justice supports efforts to give rehabilitated people more meaningful pathways to earn release. Currently, that means restoring Illinois to its pre-1978 parole-for-release system, rolling back “truth-in-sentencing” laws, and creating opportunities for people serving extreme sentences to have another look at their sentence.