ROMEOVILLE, Ill. – In order to help protect correctional officers and prison staff, state Rep. Natalie Manley, D-Romeoville, passed legislation aimed at preventing inappropriate behaviors in prison which was signed into law by Gov. JB Pritzker last month.
“Those who work and live in prison deserve to be able to have a space free from behavior that is harmful to their physical and mental wellbeing,” Manley said. “Currently, there are little to no ramifications for prisoners who subject officers in prison and jail, many of them women, and civilians working in these facilities to behaviors that would get them arrested outside of prison. I applaud Gov. Pritzker for signing this legislation to help make our correctional facilities safer for everyone.”
After a year-long series of meetings with advocacy groups and correctional authorities from the Will and Cook County Sheriff’s Office to find solutions to lewd behaviors in prisons, Manley championed House Bill 1399, which was supported by law enforcement agencies and passed both the House and Senate unanimously. The bill looks to curb inappropriate behaviors, such as indecent exposure or the throwing of bodily fluids, in multiple ways. In order to address the underlying issues that may result in these behaviors, offenders will be offered a Mental Health Treatment Court option. To discourage repeat offenders from continuing their behavior, the bill also creates a new felony for lewd conduct.
“With the many difficulties that officers face on the job, the last thing they need is to be harassed in this highly offensive manner that we wouldn’t allow anywhere else,” said Manley. “No one should have to be subjected to inappropriate behaviors, especially in the workplace. I look forward to continuing to work with the law enforcement community to find commonsense ways to help make the important jobs that they do safer.”