Unlock Civics Policy Platform

#UnlockCivics Policy Platform

The year 2020 and the Covid-19 pandemic highlighted many things. The perilous conditions people in prison endure and the role exclusion from our democratic processes play in exacerbating such conditions are among them. Lack of quality judicial training, the abolishment of a parole system, and the disenfranchisement of people in prison have all contributed to the crisis occurring in Illinois prisons. People are serving extreme sentences–without the opportunity for early release–and unable to hold elected officials accountable to hearing and addressing their needs. Given the impact of COVID-19 on individuals experiencing incarceration, the need to restore the right to vote to people in prisons and ensure people impacted by the legal system have access to all their civic rights and responsibilities is even more urgent.

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: HB1872
Clarifies language in the IL constitution to allow people in prison to vote.

Earned Discretionary Release: SB2333
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: SB0649
Expands the state minimum wage to include people serving a sentence at the Illinois Department of Corrections and increases the state pay for all people incarcerated in Illinois prisons.

Judicial Quality Act: SB0563
Ensures Judges receive quarterly training on racial bias, child abuse, trans and gender nonconforming identities, and the impact of trauma on youth brain development.

Jury Qualification: SB2437
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.