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FAMM releases report on need for second chances in Illinois’ prisons
“Time for Justice: The Urgent Need for Second Chances in Illinois’ Sentencing System” highlights high costs and low value of Illinois’ long prison sentences
SPRINGFIELD – As part of FAMM’s ongoing efforts to support second chances in Illinois, it released a report, “Time for Justice: The Urgent Need for Second Chances in Illinois’ Sentencing System,” which looks at the harms and injustices of extreme sentences in Illinois, with a focus on minimum sentences of 15 years or longer. The report also provides recommendations for reform.
“The numbers don’t lie: Illinois is wasting public safety dollars keeping people locked up long after they are rehabilitated,” said Molly Gill, FAMM’s Vice President of Policy. “People change, and the Illinois legislature needs to pass laws that give them a second chance. Illinois spends too much punishing low-risk people for crimes committed decades ago instead of focusing that money on preventing crimes that will happen tomorrow.”
Based on the report’s findings, FAMM recommendations include Illinois creating a “Second Look” mechanism to allow people who’ve served 15 or more years to demonstrate rehabilitation and earn release; repealing mandatory minimums; making sentencing reforms retroactive; and expanding clemency.
“Illinois has more than four times as many people serving extreme sentences as it did 50 years ago, many of whom were sentenced in their youth,” said Emily Bloomenthal, FAMM’s Director of Research. “Our report not only details the numerous harmful effects of excessive sentences, but also offers common-sense solutions to address the problem.”
The report was written by Bloomenthal with support from Gill and other staff. The stories throughout the report were written by Ann Espuelas.
For more than three decades, FAMM has united the voices of affected families, the formerly incarcerated, and a range of stakeholders and advocates to fight for a more fair and effective justice system. FAMM has led the fight to reform extreme mandatory sentencing laws and to promote rehabilitation and dignity for all people in prison, 94 percent of whom will return to our neighborhoods one day.
FAMM is a national nonpartisan advocacy organization that promotes fair and effective criminal justice policies that safely reduce incarceration, save taxpayer dollars, and keep families together. Founded in 1991, FAMM has secured bold sentencing and prison reform across the country while elevating the voices of directly impacted individuals and families.