Saying Illinois is in “desperate need of criminal justice reform,” on February 11 Governor Rauner issued an Executive Order creating a new commission charged with identifying ways to reform the criminal justice system and sentencing laws in the state.
The Illinois State Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform will study a variety of issues, including incarceration time, early release, prison alternatives and community supervision. Rauner said the thorough examination of the current system will be used to develop strategies to improve public safety and reduce recidivism and prison overcrowding.
Illinois has one of the most crowded prison systems in the country, and the state’s recidivism rate is dangerously high. The Department of Corrections is operating at 150 percent of capacity, while 48 percent of adult inmates and 54 percent of juvenile inmates are returned to the system within three years of release.