State Senator Mike Simmons SPRINGFIELD – To help returning citizens reintegrate successfully into their communities and reduce recidivism, State Senator Mike Simmons advanced legislation out of the House on May 17.

“Returning citizens deserve the same rights and opportunities of every other individual,” said Simmons (D-Chicago). “Regardless of past mistakes or decisions, everyone deserves a second chance to establish stability in their life and take care of basic human needs, such as finding gainful employment, housing and health care before owing fees from prior criminal proceedings.”

Senate Bill 2175
prohibits courts from ordering the payment of outstanding fees, fines, taxes or any costs arising from criminal proceedings for the first year after a person returns from incarceration. Currently, Illinois does not have a law striking fees for a certain amount of days post-confinement. However, under the Unified Code of Corrections, the court may revoke a fine if good cause is shown.

“This bill does not erase fees, but rather provides a reasonable amount of time to help break the cruel cycle where returning citizens are expected to pay back fees with savings they may not have,” Simmons said. “If we truly want to see those who were incarcerated rehabilitate and change, then we need to support them.”

Having passed both chambers of the General Assembly, Senate Bill 2175 will be sent to the governor for final approval.