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Prisoner entrepreneur training pilot program signed into law

Published: Thursday, August 24, 2017 04:17 PM

aquino 042717SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a bill into law today creating a program to teach Illinois prison inmates business skills. State Senator Omar Aquino, D-Chicago, was the measure’s chief sponsor in the Senate.

The goal of the legislation is to decrease recidivism by providing inmates with opportunities to acquire business skills for use after release. The legislation establishes a pilot program similar to one already in place in the Texas Department of Corrections.

“It is already tough to find employment with a felony conviction. This program gives inmates entrepreneurial skills beyond basic vocational and career training so that they can employ themselves,” Aquino said. “We want to give people the business skills that they need to create jobs in their neighborhoods and lead productive lives. This legislation will boost entrepreneurship and decrease recidivism at the same time.”

Under the Prisoner Entrepreneur Education Program, inmates would learn business skills including budgeting, computer skills and public speaking. The business skills training would supplement the Illinois Department of Corrections’ existing training in a number of vocations such as automotive technology, cosmetology, print management and welding.

House Bill 698 has been signed into law by Rauner and will take effect immediately.

Steans increases mental health training for law enforcement

Published: Thursday, August 24, 2017 03:42 PM

steans 013117SPRINGFIELD – Police officers in Illinois would be better prepared to respond to and de-escalate mental health crises under a new law sponsored by State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago).

“With recent funding cuts and gaps in the mental health system, officers increasingly are responding to situations that involve people with mental illness,” Steans said. “They need to be trained to recognize signs of mental illness and know how to de-escalate these interactions for the safety of those they encounter, as well as for their own protection.”

Hastings measure to give Illinois’ children a second chance signed into law

Published: Thursday, August 24, 2017 02:53 PM

hastings 011017TINLEY PARK- The Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission found that between 2004 and 2014, only 0.26 percent of juvenile arrests in Illinois were expunged, and 87 percent of counties granted an average of less than one juvenile expungement per year.

To tackle this issue, State Senator Michael E. Hastings’ measure House Bill 3817 to combat unlawful and overly broad sharing of juvenile records in Illinois was signed into law today.

“This is a step in the right direction. We need to be working toward rehabilitating children caught in our court system to give them a chance to succeed, not crippling them with the mistakes of their past,” Hastings said. “This change will result in an infinite number of positive outcomes for our state’s young people.” 

Haine honors local Patriot Guard Rider in pinning ceremony

Published: Wednesday, August 23, 2017 03:26 PM

Haine 082317SPRINGFIELD – State Sen. Bill Haine (D-Alton) honored Patriot Guard Rider and Alton resident Fred Smith today by placing Smith’s pin on his Patriot Guard Rider vest.

Smith has been a member of the Patriot Guard, an organization whose members are dedicated to attending the funeral services of fallen American heroes and ensuring services aren’t disrupted by protesters, for more than 15 years. Smith received his honorary pin after serving on 504 missions with the Patriot Guard.

“The Patriot Guard Riders are dedicated individuals who are committed to honoring our fallen heroes and the sacrifices they made,” Haine said. “For years, Fred Smith has been a devoted member of the Patriot Guard, and I was honored to place his Patriot Guard Rider pin on his vest.”

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