Last week the Workers Center for Racial Justice (WCRJ) and the Center for Racial and Gender Equity (CRGE) introduced two groundbreaking bills into the Illinois Legislature that aim to dismantle the state’s inhumane prison system, and equitably reinvest public resources back into our communities. In order to ensure that these critical measures advance in the General Assembly, we need your support!
The SAFER (Securing All Futures for Equitable Reinvestment) Communities Act (HB 5394) offers Illinois a bold new vision of what community safety can look like when we divest from systems that perpetuate racialized structural inequity -- such as prisons and law enforcement -- and reinvest public dollars in initiatives that foster opportunity and justice for all. The measure would implement assertive reform of Illinois’ overly punitive and racially targeted sentencing laws. The public savings resulting from decarceration would directly fund a job creation program designed to spur hiring of applicants with conviction histories.
HB 5010 would amend state sentencing law to abolish extended terms, a draconian facet of Illinois' criminal code, which permits the courts to impose long stretches of additional prison time onto already excessive sentences. By offering judges wide discretionary power to lengthen sentences on the basis of a sweeping array of broadly defined and often subjective “aggravating” factors, extended terms magnify the impact of racial bias in our local court system.
Your voice is vital to the fight for racial justice and liberation in Illinois, and beyond.