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 (House Floor Amendment 1) 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 re-sentencing appeals with time served credit. The bill would also establish a living wage job creation program for formerly incarcerated workers.
Reinvesting in Opportunity
The SAFER Communities Act would establish 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 investment costs of the SAFER Communities job creation program.
WCRJ thanks the following groups for endorsing the SAFER Communities Act
ACLU of Illinois | Arise Chicago | Black Remembrance Project | TheBlackMall.com | Brighton Park Neighborhood Council | Centro Trabajadores Unidos | Community Renewal Society | Cafe 75 | Enlace | Giving Others Dreams | Indivisible Illinois | Illinois NOW | J & J Solutions | Jewish Council on Urban Affairs | LA Law Firm | Live Free Illinois | Mano a Mano Family Resource Center | Mothers Against Wrongful Convictions | The People's Lobby | People's Response Network | Prison + Neighborhood Arts/Education Project | Raise the Floor Alliance | Southland Black Chamber of Commerce | Shriver Center on Poverty Law | United African Organization | Unitarian Universalist Advocacy Network of Illinois | Uptown People's Law Center