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Gov. Rauner Announces Important Changes to Illinois Criminal Justice System

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Among the top priorities announced by Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner when he took office was reform of the criminal justice system, including a desire to shrink the number of incarcerated people in Illinois by 25% by 2025. Toward that end, Gov. Rauner has recently announced that a former juvenile correctional facility will be renovated to become a minimum-security facility aimed at offering job training, among other offerings.

Illinois has a nearly-50% recidivism rate. That means that almost half of those who go to prison return there within three years, either for a new offense or for violating the terms of their parole. One of Gov. Rauner’s major aims in reforming the Illinois criminal justice system is to reduce the amount of recidivism, and research shows that rehabilitation is a much more successful way to reduce recidivism than longer sentences. In an effort to offer former offenders more opportunities for rehabilitation, Gov. Rauner announced that the now-closed youth center in Murphysboro will be renovated to become a “life skills and re-entry facility.” Working as a type of halfway house for convicted persons who are near the end of their prison terms, the facility will offer residents training in “evidence based job skills, communication skills, and other life skills that will give them a hand up when they are released from custody,” said John Baldwin, director of the Illinois Department of Corrections. “People who complete their sentences pay their debt to society and deserve a second chance to rebuild their lives and rebuild their families,” he noted.

In addition to opening the rehabilitational and life skills facility, Gov. Rauner has announced that the much-criticized F House at the Stateville Correctional Center will soon be closed. The F House, built in 1922, is one of the last remaining “roundhouse” prisons left in the US, structured so that all its cells face the center open area. These round prisons were long ago deemed to carry many operational and safety risks to both prisoners and guards. The John Howard Association of Illinois, a prison watchdog group, deemed the facility unfit for human habitation, citing bug infestations, extreme temperatures, and visually and auditorily-chaotic conditions. Gov. Rauner himself said, “it’s a terrible place. If you spend time there, you will have mental issues.” The inmates currently housed in the F House will be relocated to other facilities throughout Illinois.

If you’ve been charged with a crime and summoned to appear before the Markham or Bridgeview Courthouse, make sure that your constitutional rights are protected every step of the way and contact the experienced and effective Homewood criminal defense attorney John Fairman for a consultation on your case, at 708-799-4848 in Homewood or 708-960-4806 in Bridgeview.

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