After months of organizing at the grassroots levels and throughout the halls of the state capitol, IMAN’s latest legislative push was formalized as Senate Bill 3489: the Path to Restoration Bill. This crucial bill proposes a set of amendments to Illinois’ registry tracking individuals convicted of violent crimes against youth. Currently, individuals have no ability to contest their appearance on the registry, no way to correct inaccurate information posted to the database, and no way to petition for eventual removal. This effectively sentences many people to perpetual punishment and stigma long after they have fulfilled their prison terms, stripping them of the ability to fully heal from their past.
The Child Murderer and Violent Offender Against Youth Registry Act first passed in 2006, forcing returning citizens already facing barriers to re-entering society in a dignified manner to annually register in a statewide database. In 2012, this law evolved into the current Murderer and Violent Offender Against Youth Registry—after the passage of “Andrea’s Law”—under which men and women convicted of a violent crime against a youth or the murder of an adult must register for a period ranging from ten years up to natural life.
The “Path to Restoration” Bill will create a fairer, more transparent system, allowing individuals to amend incorrect information and appeal their inclusion in the database. It proposes an opportunity to reconcile returning citizens with victims and their families and to help restore the dignity stripped from so many in this process.
IMAN has secured bill sponsorships from State Senators Kimberly Lightford, Elgie Sims and Jackie Collins. The team, led by Organizer Nasir Blackwell and Staff Attorney/Organizer Aaron Siebert-Llera, will be mainstays in Springfield as they pursue additional legislative support. If the bill is signed into law, Illinois would become the first state in the nation to create a mechanism whereby a member of a violent registry can seek removal from the database.
IMAN has worked alongside returning citizens for two decades, many of whom were involved in violent crimes during their youth. We remain committed to justice during this legislative session and seek to streamline the registry, making it possible for registrants to advocate for themselves and to create a space for all impacted by violent crimes to heal.
If you are interested in advocating for criminal justice reform in Springfield or participating in community conversations with other leaders, legislators, residents and others directly impacted by violent crimes, contact Senior Organizer Shamar Hemphill,firstname.lastname@example.org