Justice Reform a Rare "Bright Spot" Amidst Political Stalemate

Jan 4, 2017

Partisan gridlock has caused Illinois to run without a full budget for more than a year-and-a-half. But there's one area Democrats and Republicans ARE working together.

It's one of the rare bright spots in Springfield: Members of both parties have been coming together to improve the criminal justice system.

"I think that's right. In fact, in the bill that you just called me about ... there was very strong bipartisan support."

Representative Barbara Flynn Currie is majority leader in the Illinois House. The "bill" she referred to is now a law. As of the new year, kids under age 15 who are charged with a serious crime must have a lawyer during interrogations.

"Young people are easily coerced. They don't always understand what the consequences of an action may be."

Legislators also agreed to make it easier for rehabilitated ex-cons to work in the health care field, and to make judges more carefully consider whether prison is the right fit for people who’ve committed less serious crimes.