HB 83: A Real Opportunity to Decrease Youth Incarceration in Illinois

We have an opportunity to decrease youth incarceration in Illinois. House Bill 83 is currently sitting on Governor Quinn’s Desk and we need to insist that he sign this bill before July 16th. Below is a template of a letter that you can and should send to the Governor’s office on this matter. You can also download the letter HERE. If you would like to call the Governor’s office instead, please do so at 217-782-0244 and tell him to sign HB83. It will take only a few minutes to make your voice heard on this. Please call or write to the Governor.

Thanks to a reader, here is the actual text of HB83.

The Honorable Pat Quinn
Governor of Illinois
Room 207, State Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706

RE: House Bill 83

Dear Governor Quinn:

We respectfully request that you sign House Bill 83 into law.

House Bill 83 (Yarbrough-Gabel, Hernandez, Soto and D. Smith/A. Collins-Steans) amends the Juvenile Court Act to encourage courts to explore community alternatives prior to sentencing youth to incarceration in the state Department of Juvenile Justice. This bill is expected to save the state money by encouraging the use of less expensive – and more effective – community alternatives to state funded incarceration. The bill is also expected to help Illinois recoup federal Title IV E funding for youth who need residential placement.

House Bill 83 passed the Senate unanimously, and has no known opposition.

This bill addresses the concerns of impacted community members that sentencing a youth to state juvenile confinement be a last resort, following a well informed and deliberative review of all available community based alternatives. Research has established that youth are least likely to repeat offend if they are given community based treatment and interventions. In light of the poor outcomes for youth committed to the state Department of Juvenile Justice, expanding the use of community-based alternatives is critical. This bill will encourage the use of community-based alternatives.

The bonus is that not only is encouraging community alternatives better policy – it is cheaper, far less costly, than confinement. Thus, by encouraging courts to make all reasonable efforts to keep youth at home, this bill will help the state save money, while reducing repeat offending by juveniles. Further, the reasonable efforts review is required in order to access federal IV E dollars for juveniles who need residential placement.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

Respectfully submitted,

More about the bill HERE.

UPDATE: Governor Quinn signed HB83 into law on August 15th 2011.

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