Illinois bill aims to ensure fairness for inmates’ families


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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The Illinois Senate has approved a measure that would require the state’s prison system to formalize the process in which it receives complaints and comments from visitors and taxpayers.

Sen. Laura Fine’s legislation would require the Illinois Department of Corrections to designate a point person who would be in charge of receiving comments. The Glenview Democrat said the plan’s objective is to ensure people wanting to visit incarcerated family members are treated fairly.

“When they expect a visit and get turned away, it can be heartbreaking,” Fine said. “We should be encouraging people to maintain connections with family and friends, which will improve their lives during and after incarceration.”

Fine worked with the Chicago group Restore Justice which works for fairness and compassion in the prison system. Restore Justice officials told Fine they had witnessed numerous visitors being turned away unfairly.

In one instance, Restore Justice representatives said Corrections officials confiscated a baby blanket and canceled a family’s visit because the baby was crying.

The legislation now moves to the House for consideration.


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