SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – HB 5525, sponsored by State Representative Delia C. Ramirez, D-Chicago, was signed into law by Governor JB Pritzker on Friday, May 13, 2022. The new law creates a Commission on Children of Incarcerated Parents which will help address the issues experienced by children who have been impacted by parental incarceration.
“Hundreds of thousands of Illinois children have a parent who has been incarcerated,” said Rep. Ramirez. “Seeing a parent arrested and taken away is an incredibly traumatic experience for a child. Our justice system must do better when it comes to supporting families impacted by parental incarceration; and that is precisely the goal of this Commission.”
The recommendations the Commission will be responsible for implementing were made by the state’s Task Force on Children of Incarcerated Parents which met between August 2019 and December 2020. Rep. Ramirez helped lead the Task Force, which issued its report in December 2020.
Other involved leaders included Lt. Governor Julianna Stratton and State Senator Mike Simmons. Organizations which supported the bill include the Women’s Justice Institute and Cabrini Green Legal Aid.
Among the Task Force’s recommendations are audits of state policy and procedures, enhanced training and inter-agency communication for law enforcement, reviewing law enforcement procedures for arrests which are made in the presence of children, reviewing visitation policies at Illinois jails and detention centers, as well as the creation of the Commission.
“Children should not be further traumatized when their parents come in contact with the criminal justice system,” said Ramirez. “It is up to us to ensure that our justice system is ethical and humane when it comes to how arrests and incarceration affect families, especially children. I am proud to have helped lead the way to a more compassionate future for many of Illinois’ children.”
For more information call Rep. Ramirez’ office at 773-799-8219 or email email@example.com.