Unlock Civics Policy Platform

#UnlockCivics Policy Platform

As elections approach, it becomes increasingly clear who is included in our democracy and who is left out. Our community members experiencing incarceration are disenfranchised in various ways throughout the country. In Illinois, people in prison cannot vote. As of this year, there are roughly 38,141 people in Illinois prisons. Fifty-five percent of which are Black and forty-three percent of which are under the age of 35. Due to disproportionate rates of incarceration, Black, Latinx, and young people are disenfranchised at much higher rates, in Illinois and across the country. We need to restore the right to vote to people currently in Illinois prisons and ensure people impacted by the legal system have access to all of their civic rights and responsibilities.

Chicago Votes’ #UnlockCivics legislative platform works at the intersection of organizing and advocacy to ensure that people affected by the American legal system have access to their civic rights and responsibilities.

Our 2020 Legislation

Voting in Prison: HJRCA0033 & HB4377
Clarifies language in the IL constitution to allow people in prison to vote.

Earned Discretionary Release: SB3233
Establishes that after serving 20 years, a person is eligible to have their case heard in front of the Parole Review Board.

End Prison Slave Labor Act: SB2929
Expands the state minimum wage to include people serving a sentence at the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Judicial Quality Act: SB3573
Ensures Judges receive quarterly training on racial bias, child abuse, and the impact of trauma on youth brain development.

Jury Qualification: SB2525
This bill provides that no person who is qualified and able to serve as a juror may be excluded from jury service on the basis of a previous criminal record.