vanpelt 022221CHICAGO – After a long year of national racial unrest and advocating for change, State Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) is proud that Gov. JB Pritzker signed HB 3653 into law.

“This is one of the most monumental pieces of legislation the state has passed to date,” Van Pelt said. “My colleagues and I have worked very hard, especially in the last year, to address the ways Black and Brown Illinoisans have felt suffocated under the criminal justice system, and I hope the implementation of these measures allows for some significant change, and even relief.”

During the January legislative session, Van Pelt voted to pass HB 3653, a bill spearheaded by the Legislative Black Caucus to enact major criminal justice reform in the state of Illinois.

To ensure officers are prepared to handle emergency situations, the legislation will require additional training in use of force and crisis intervention, as well as regular mental health screenings.

Additional provisions include a prohibition on chokeholds and the required use of body cameras statewide, which will be implemented by 2025.

“For centuries, Black and Brown communities have felt targeted by the police, and other institutions bred in structural racism,” Van Pelt said. “Every generation, we get closer and closer to the equality that our forefathers alluded to, but failed to uphold. Hopefully, this legislation allows us to take strides in undoing some of the biggest inequities in our justice system.”

The legislation also contains the Pretrial Fairness Act to abolish the cash bail system, which prohibits individuals accused of crimes from being detained before their trial simply because they can’t afford bail.

House Bill 3653 is effective July 1, though many provisions will phase in incrementally or be enacted after a period of transition over the coming years. Body cameras will become mandatory statewide by 2025, while the abolition of cash bail will take effect in January of 2023.