It has been another successful and rewarding year at the ACLU of Illinois. But we know that the successes of this year are only building blocks to more work ahead. The items on our agenda for 2016 include the following:
- Working with interested parties and government officials to build a real, functioning community-based mental health care system. So many of the issues that we see – including mass incarceration – are driven by the lack of meaningful availability of mental health care in neighborhoods and communities. Providing support for such a system will alleviate a host of other problems and we are committed to advancing this discussion and planning.
- Working with the Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform, appointed by Governor Rauner, to reform the criminal justice system and to safely reduce the number of people incarcerated in Illinois. Our system of justice today is broken, overburdened by long sentences and over-charging that does not really make our society safer, but actually harms communities and families. We are working to reduce the number of people incarcerated by 50% over the next several years, end the unnecessarily long sentences that don’t serve the community, re-think the way in which we deal with all drug-related crimes and create tested, proven rehabilitative services that help the formerly incarcerated actually return to being productive members of society.
- Watching the Supreme Court, we continue to work to insure that Illinois remains a bastion of freedom compared to other states concerning a woman’s ability to access a full range of reproductive health care, including abortion. In 2016, the Court will take up a case involving clinic restrictions from Texas, which has rendered the right to choose to terminate a pregnancy all but unattainable for many women. The ACLU of Illinois is proud of our history of resisting such restrictions in Illinois.
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