EDITORIAL: We need to keep law enforcement in the conversation | Opinion


A bill introduced in the Illinois House last week seeks to revamp the Prisoner Review Board, which decides whether those convicted of crimes will be released and the conditions they will face if released from prison.

Several provisions of the legislation are worth highlighting: the live broadcast of board hearings, the requirement of a two-thirds vote instead of a simple majority for the parole of convicted murderers, and the strengthening victim notification requirements.

But there is one in particular we want to focus on today and that is the provision requiring five members of the 12-member council to have experience as police officers or prosecutors.

It’s good to see that someone at the Statehouse is finally acknowledging the need for those with law enforcement experience to be in the room when decisions about public safety are being made. So much consternation could have been avoided had those with law enforcement experience been brought into the process when it came to drafting and passing the Safety, Accountability, Safety and Security Act 2021. fairness and fairness today.

Known more commonly as the SAFE-T Act, this legislation was passed in the wee hours of the morning and brought sweeping criminal justice reforms. Many of the changes were met with disgust by law enforcement. Some of the changes are simply not feasible and some create public safety issues.

Now don’t get us wrong. We are not arguing that criminal justice reform is unnecessary. Even a cursory glance at the 2021 crime statistics clearly shows the need for reform. We are also convinced that changes are also needed in the process of releasing prisoners.

We simply argue that informed voices must be part of the conversation if real reform is to take place.

We also know that you should never take down a fence until you know why it was erected. And when it comes to public safety, law enforcement is the repository of that information.


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