Kankakee County SA Slams Proposed Bill for Easing Sentences on Violent Crimes

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Kankakee County, IL – Jim Rowe, the State’s Attorney for Kankakee County, has taken to social media to voice strong opposition against House Bill 5219, which he has referred to as “terrible legislation.” 

According to Rowe’s statement, the bill proposes a drastic reduction in the incarceration period for offenders, potentially cutting sentences by half, including for those convicted of violent crimes. This legislation, currently under consideration, would significantly alter the Unified Code of Corrections, affecting not only future sentences but also applying retroactively, which could see many currently incarcerated individuals serving shortened sentences.

The Illinois Sheriffs’ Association has echoed Rowe’s concerns, suggesting that such a bill could undermine public safety by allowing early release for individuals convicted of serious offenses. Rowe’s stance is that this bill could disrupt the criminal justice system’s balance of punishment and rehabilitation by prioritizing sentence reduction over community safety.

The bill, introduced by Representative Barbara Hernandez, is poised to incentivize sentence credits for good behavior, which has sparked a debate about the balance between rehabilitation and the need for justice, especially in cases of violent crimes. If enacted, the changes are set to be implemented from January 1, 2025. 

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