CHICAGO — State Rep. Lilian Jiménez, D-Chicago, is expanding access to stable housing, and making the criminal justice system fairer with a series of equity-based reforms that are now law.
“Months of hard work with my colleagues, stakeholders and leading criminal justice and affordable housing experts have made these bills the law of the land in Illinois,” Jiménez said. “At every step of the criminal legal system, we are making changes that will have profound impacts on the daily lives of countless Illinoisans.”
Jiménez sponsored House Bill 3414, the Prevent Unfair Sentencing of Youth Act, which empowers judges to acknowledge many ways in which trauma impacts young, system-involved individuals. A young person’s involvement in the child welfare system, a particularly adverse upbringing, negative and overwhelming outside pressure, or surviving human trafficking or domestic abuse can be considered in court proceedings given clear and present evidence.
Jiménez continued her efforts on affordable housing by leading the charge on Senate Bill 1367. This bill ensures that certain information is not considered when determining eligibility for federally assisted housing, opening new doors for those seeking a fresh start and a stable home. It also requires housing authorities to collect up-to-date information on affordable housing units under their jurisdiction.
Jiménez championed Senate Bill 1886, which prohibits unnecessary incarceration for legal drug and alcohol consumption during an individual’s probationary period. Stakeholder testimony showed that a significant portion of cases of probation violation were due to alcohol or legal drug use, even when the initial conviction was not alcohol or drug-based. Judges additionally have the option to refer system-involved individuals to drug treatment courses.
“These bills represent significant strides towards creating a more compassionate Illinois,” Jiménez said. “I am grateful for the opportunity to have worked on these crucial bills alongside passionate and dedicated organizations, and I am proud of what we have achieved for the people of Illinois. While we celebrate these wins, we have to remember that our work continues.