The SAFER Communities Act offers Illinois an achievable plan to reverse mass incarceration, foster job creation, invest in local business, and grow the state economy. This groundbreaking legislation, which was crafted by WCRJ’s council of formerly incarcerated members, aims to dismantle the state’s destructive prison system, and equitably reinvest public resources back into local communities.

Reversing Mass Incarceration

HB 3215 would lower penalties for all felony categories and eliminate mandatory minimums for misdemeanors and Class 4 felonies. Individuals currently detained in Illinois prisons would be eligible for resentencing appeals with time served credit. The bill would also require Illinois to redirect public savings from decarceration to fund a living wage job creation program for formerly incarcerated workers.

Reinvesting in Opportunity

The SAFER Communities Act would establish a fund to collect the public savings realized through reductions in the prison population. These reserves would fund a living wage job creation pilot program for up to 20,000 formerly incarcerated workers each year. The SAFER Communities initiative would offer local businesses financial incentives for hiring workers with conviction records into newly created, high quality jobs.

By supporting access to employment for ten of thousands of formerly incarcerated Illinoisans, the SAFER Communities Act would save Illinoisans more than $260 million annually in reincarceration costs alone. Returning workers would also increase state revenue through sales and income tax contributions. These combined savings would far exceed the amount of tax credits Illinois would offer employers under the SAFER Communities job creation program.

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