SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – In an effort to prepare adolescents for re-entrance into society and reduce rates of recidivism, state Rep. Curtis J. Tarver II, D-Chicago, is sponsoring legislation to provide civics education for inmates at the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ).
“As rates of recidivism for youth continue to rise, we must prepare inmates for a life outside of jail where they can be contributing members of society,” said Tarver “By providing civics education where inmates can learn the value of community engagement and development, they can expand their role in voting, advocate for policies that affect them, participate in social justice movements, and help make their community a better place.”
Currently, DJJ offers non-partisan, peer-led civics classes with no requirements for the classes. Tarver’s legislation, Senate Bill 2116, will put guidelines and requirements in place for these classes. Under the measure, classes must consist of 270 minutes of instruction and be led by two co-facilitators: a member of an established non-partisan civic organization and a person at DJJ trained in voting rights education. The program must also include information on registering to vote and the voting process for those eligible to vote.
“Voting is a human right that every person, regardless of their background or history, deserves,” said Tarver “Although this is only one step towards reducing recidivism rates and increasing civic participation, it is imperative that it becomes law.”