New laws in Illinois, Michigan aim to update, improve justice systems

Two of the Midwest’s governors recently signed bipartisan legislation to overhaul aspects of their states’ criminal justice systems.

Based in part on recommendations from the Illinois State Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform, Illinois SB 2872 requires the state to help local authorities with strategic planning and technical aid in addressing trauma victims’ experiences. It also strengthens judicial discretion in sentencing, including probation as an alternative to incarceration, and expands opportunities for former inmates to receive rehabilitative services.

In Michigan, 18 different bills approved by the Legislature will update parole policies and provide new tools to prevent repeat criminal offenses. For example, the Department of Corrections will create a “Parole Sanction Certainty” program for high-risk parolees in at least the state’s five largest counties. In addition, parole and probation programs will be required to employ evidence-based practices. Other bills in the legislative package redefine recidivism in state statute, establish an expedited commutation process for prisoners with medical conditions, and limit the maximum sentence for technical violations of parole to 30 days for the first three violations.
Stateline Midwest: April 20173.08 MB