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Language Added to Illinois Statutes to Increase LEO Accountability

It is no secret that the national attention paid to police brutality cases has increased significantly in the last few years. Some are calling for more accountability, and legislation has started to emerge which seeks to address the issue. High-profile cases such as the shooting of Jayland Walker, the death of George Floyd, and Patrick Lyoya have increased public scrutiny of police officers.

Gaps in the letter of the law in some states have inadvertently led to difficulty in prosecuting police officers. Though no state simply allows police officers to do whatever they please whenever they would like, there has been concern that the current state of the law fails to hold authority figures to the same standards that it holds the general citizen. Recent legislation in Illinois, called the SAFE-T Act, represents efforts to affect change in this area of the law.

Illinois Police Now Duty-Bound to Prevent Any Person From Using Excessive Force

A new law has been added under ILCS 5/7-16 that requires police officers to intervene to stop the use of excessive force or unauthorized force, irrespective of the chain of command. The second part of the new law is important; in previous instances of misuse of force, some officers felt unable to intervene and disobey the chain of command.

Additionally, any officers who intervene as required by this section must make a full report under the guidelines set out under ILCS 6/7-16 (b). Reports must be filed within five days of the incident. This aspect of the statute gives intervening officers a record of their efforts and protects them legally in the case of later legal action.

Retaliation of Any Kind Against Police Who Intervene Banned Under New Statute

ILCS 5/7-16 protects whistleblowers and other officers who attempt to prevent instances of unauthorized or excessive force. Subsection c may be the most important part of the new law, since many officers would likely intervene to prevent excessive force if it were not for the fear of retaliation. Mandating intervention, requiring reporting, and protecting police officers against retaliation all work together to prevent abuses of power in the police force.

Contact an Experienced Lawyer Today

It is important to get professional help in matters involving your future and your freedom. Recent changes to Illinois criminal code will affect your rights and trial process, so make sure to remain informed and updated. When you need an attorney, experience matters. Contact us today to learn how our experience can get you the results you deserve.

Deflection Program Expanded Through Illinois Bill HB3653

Illinois Bill HB3653 has made major changes to criminal justice law in the state of Illinois. Reforms range from additional laws and altering language in statute text to the expansion of various programs. Overall, the legislation serves the ends of progressive social justice in the state of Illinois. The reform bill’s elimination of cash bail has been widely covered in the media, but several other aspects of the bill have not seen as much media coverage, despite being similarly important landmark changes. Among those changes is the expansion of deflection programs in the state of Illinois.

Deflection programs are programs designed to reduce the involvement of the criminal justice system or hospitals in substance abuse cases. Those suffering from substance abuse disorders are best served by substance abuse treatment programs and have high rates of recovery through those programs. Being jostled and tossed through the criminal justice system does little to aid the recovery of those suffering from the negative effects of substance abuse, so deflection programs and legislation instituting laws to assist and facilitate cooperation between substance abuse programs and law enforcement result in better criminal outcomes.

What was changed in the new bill?

In the new legislation, deflection programs have been expanded to include provisions to allow coordination and funding for co-responder approaches that incorporate behavioral health, peer, or social work professionals with law enforcement or other first responders at the scene. This facilitation includes defined criteria for eligibility and communication protocols agreed upon by the first responder entity and a licensed treatment provider.

Additional funding is also provided for the programs and educational programs are laid out for the public, law enforcement communities, and responders who wish to opt in. Education is important to increase awareness of deflection programs and enable advocacy for their effectiveness, and to facilitate coordination.

In addition to funding for educational programs and funding for the deflection programs themselves, funding has been provided for Naloxone distribution. Naloxone is a life-saving medicine for sufferers of opioid overdoses. Without Naloxone at hand, those suffering from heroin or other opioid overdose are at very high risk of dying, but with Naloxone available, fatalities from overdoses can be greatly reduced. Additional funding helps to make Naloxone more available in more places, ultimately saving more lives.

Contact an Experienced Lawyer Today

It is important to get professional help in matters involving your safety or the safety of those you care for. Do not delay in acquiring legal help from our law offices. Glasgow & Olsson is uniquely qualified to help navigate new changes to pretrial release procedures. Recent changes to Illinois law likely affect your rights and trial process, so make sure to remain informed and updated. Make sure to acquire legal assistance the whole way through. When you need an attorney, experience matters. Contact us today to learn how our experience can get you the results you deserve.

New Laws Modified Around Good Conduct Credit

The SAFE-T Act legislation in the state of Illinois has made major changes to a variety of law areas in the state of Illinois. The lawmaker’s intention behind the bill has been to promote equity within the criminal justice system. The intent of the SAFE-T Act is to result in a better criminal justice system on monetary, social, and other levels.

The SAFE-T act was meant to ensure that the criminal justice system is not set up to inadvertently create career criminals. It is not uncommon for criminals who would otherwise turn their life around to become stuck in a cycle of crime due to feeling trapped due to the ramifications of an initial offense. Those who feel trapped by the system may feel a sense of dejection due to the impact on civil life or due to the impact of sunk time in incarceration.

Though the concept of being released on good conduct has existed for a number of years, prisoners have still often expressed that they feel the criminal justice system is not a help for true reform and meaningful personal and internal change. Despite the possibility of release on good conduct, that possibility is tempered by the limitations of the criminal justice system.

What are the changes made by the new bill on good conduct release?

The new bill adds changes that increase the amount of good conduct credits available across a variety of situations.

In addition to the sentence credits already available under current law, Directors of prisons may now award an additional 180 days of credits for sentences under five years and 365 days of credits for sentences over five years. Directors may grant these credits for any good conduct that they deem proper.

Extra good conduct credit available to those who participate in certain programs

Under the new legislation, extra good conduct credits are available for those who participate in substance abuse programs, educational programs, work-release programs, behavioral modification programs, life skills training, or re-entry planning.

Bonus good conduct credit available to associate degree holders

New legislation awards a bonus of 120 days of sentence credit to those who earn an associate degree while in prison.

New legislation also adds sentence credit for volunteer work, self-improvement programs, or work assignments that are not included in the above provisions.

Contact an Experienced Lawyer Today

It is important to get professional help in matters involving your safety or the safety of those you care for. Do not delay in acquiring legal help from our law offices. Glasgow & Olsson is uniquely qualified to help navigate new changes to pretrial release procedures. Recent changes to Illinois law likely affect your rights and trial process, so make sure to remain informed and updated. Make sure to acquire legal assistance the whole way through. When you need an attorney, experience matters. Contact us today to learn how our experience can get you the results you deserve.