Response to gun violence can be smart & tough

On November 15th, a co-authored editorial from Illinois State Rep. Christian Mitchell and Illinois State Sen. Kwame Raoul was published in the Chicago Tribune, “Being smart and tough on crime.”  The article follows the close of the Illinois General Assembly’s October and November veto session during which lawmakers continued debating increasing mandatory minimum for gun offenses.  The Illinois House Judiciary Committee had convened multiple times to consider amendments to SB1342.  The message Rep. C. Mitchell and Sen. Raoul shared with readers, argues that there are better ways to address violence:

There is a temptation in government to respond quickly to a crisis without thinking through the long-term consequences…

It’s been a problem in Springfield for a long time on a number of issues. In the recent veto session, the General Assembly was on the verge of doing it again by passing a bill to lengthen prison terms for gun crimes. The consequences would have extended beyond the extra $600 million in prison costs over a decade. Without a more comprehensive approach, the increased inmate load could cause irreparable damage to a troubled criminal justice system that has already caused irreparable damage to thousands of men and women — many of them black and brown.

For additional resources related to this specific issue, view the links to recent publications below.

An excerpt from the John Howard Association of Illinois response:

The question the public and lawmakers need to address is who would you rather meet on the streets of Chicago: A recently released parolee who has spent three mandatory years in Illinois’ overcrowded and under-resourced prison system, or an offender who has completed an intensive evidence-based alternative sentencing program that is proven to reduce recidivism?

The Children & Family Justice Center of the Bluhm Legal Clinic at the Northwestern University School of Law issued a policy brief in October, “Combating Gun Violence in Illinois: Evidence-Based Solutions,” which provides provides alternative approaches to addressing gun violence.

WBEZ reporter, Rob Wildeboer, provides details about the related action in, “researchers say Emanuel should hire cops, not push mandatory minimums.”
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