Governor Pritzker Signs Groundbreaking Public Safety Reforms with Widespread Support from Crime Victims into Law 

February 22, 2021
Contact: Julien Martinez, 347.229.2517, [email protected] 

HB 3653 Builds Upon Past Efforts to Expand Access to Crime Victim Services and Prioritize Rehabilitation to Make Communities Safer 

SPRINGFIELD – Governor J.B Pritzker today signed a comprehensive public safety reform package – spearheaded by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus – that prioritize rehabilitation and supports communities most impacted by crime but least served by the current criminal justice system. The legislation’s reforms include improvements to the state’s sentence credit program to reduce recidivism and over-incarceration, as well as a lowering of barriers for crime survivors to access victim services – changes championed by the Alliance for Safety and Justice, with widespread support among crime survivors throughout Illinois. HB 3653 is part of a years-long effort to make communities safer by tackling unaddressed trauma and ending cycles of crime.        

“For far too long, the criminal justice system has focused on over-incarceration policies and ignored crime survivors’ public safety priorities – but today, Governor Pritzker has set Illinois on a course towards a safer and more equitable future,” said Aswad Thomas, managing director of the Alliance for Safety and Justice’s flagship program, Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice. “These reforms are critical to addressing trauma and fostering healthier communities, while focusing on rehabilitative approaches that stop cycles of crime. Governor Pritzker, the Legislative Black Caucus, and Attorney General Kwame Raoul deserve immense credit for prioritizing crime victims and public safety with this historic legislation.” 

“Thanks to Governor Pritzker and the state legislature, Illinois is making major progress toward rethinking public safety and advancing new approaches to make communities safer,” said Lenore Anderson, President of the Alliance for Safety and Justice. “Through investments in prevention, rehabilitation, and the expansion of victim services, illinois leaders are supporting communities that have been long neglected by the current system. Improving public safety and public health go hand in hand.”    

“I know firsthand about the trauma and pain that comes from losing a loved one, but with today’s bill signing, communities across Illinois will now have the tools to heal and be made safer,” said Bertha Purnell, coordinator of the Chicago chapter for Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice. “Illinois crime survivors supported this bill because we need policies addressing the root causes of crime, as well as expanded victims services for communities left behind by the current system. Thanks to Governor Pritzker, today is a victory for crime survivors and for those who want safer communities for all.”

“Today, Illinois has become a shining example for how we can approach public safety to make our communities safer, fairer, and more just,” said Speaker Pro Tempore Jehan Gordon-Booth. “With the signing of this bill, we’re standing firmly on the side of crime survivors as we commit to addressing trauma and ending cycles of crime. The reforms we’ve enacted will shift our priorities towards prevention and rehabilitation – which has been proven to make communities safer. I’m proud to support this historic legislation alongside Governor Pritzker and the Legislative Black Caucus as we look towards a safer and fairer Illinois.”

About HB 3653

HB 3653 improves the Illinois Department of Corrections’ (IDOC) sentence credit program that provides opportunities for people who are incarcerated to earn time off their sentences through good conduct and participation in rehabilitative programs – proven to reduce recidivism and break cycles of crime. Among other changes, the bill modernizes Earned Program Credits and increases the amount of time people can earn through these programs. 

The legislation also takes several steps to expand access to victim services for survivors of crime in Illinois. These reforms include extending overall time limits to file victims compensation applications from 2 years to 5 years, as well as expanding compensation program coverage to family members by recognizing non-traditional households. Crime survivors currently on probation or parole will also no longer be barred from eligibility for the victim compensation program, and compensation caps for funeral expenses, loss of support, and loss of earnings will be increased. 

The full text of the bill can be viewed here.  

About the Alliance for Safety and Justice

The Alliance for Safety and Justice is a national organization that aims to win new safety priorities in states across the country. It partners with leaders to advance state reform through networking, coalition building, research, education and advocacy. It also brings together diverse crime survivors to advance policies that help communities most harmed by crime and violence, as part of Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice – its national network of over 42,000 crime survivors with thousands of members in Illinois. For more information, visit: