The Catholic Conference of Illinois today submitted a letter of support and encouragement to members of the Illinois Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentence Reforms.
The commission was created in 2015 shortly after the inauguration of Gov. Bruce Rauner, with the goal of reducing the state's prison population by 25 percent by 2025. Members of the Catholic Conference of Illinois’ Prison & Jail Ministry Committee attended and testified at several of the commission’s public hearings and are encouraged by its initial recommendations, as well as legislative initiatives seeking to help inmates re-enter society.
The letter urges the enactment of compassionate release of terminally-ill inmates; the expansion of rehabilitative programs in state prisons; and the adoption of initiatives that will help former prisoners re-enter society, such as a state identification card, access to some licensed professions, and expungement of arrests or charges that were later dismissed, acquitted, vacated or reversed.
CCI also advocates for increased access to prisons and jails so that clergy and lay Catholics may minister to inmates in an effort to aid in their rehabilitation.
Read the letter here.