Governor ‘Guarantees’ Criminal Justice Reform Push

January 14, 2016
Gov. Bruce Rauner spoke Thursday with members of the Illinois State Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform.

Gov. Bruce Rauner spoke Thursday with members of the Illinois State Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform.

Brian Mackey/WUIS

Governor Bruce Rauner says he’ll work to implement the recommendations of his criminal justice commission.  He stopped by a meeting Thursday, as commissioners were debating how to address the fact that African Americans are far more likely to be arrested and go to prison than other racial groups.

Commissioners are still working to reach Rauner’s goal of reducing Illinois' inmate population by 12,000 men and women over the next decade. They have delivered their first set of recommendations, and Rauner told commissioners he was excited about the report, calling it "excellent."

"What I can guarantee you: I will work tirelessly to make sure this isn't just something that just gathers dust," he said. "I’m going to implement this."

Rauner is the first sitting Illinois governor to have visited state prisons in years. He said they’re harsh, hostile places — but they don’t have to be that way.

"They don’t have to be crushing to the human spirit," Rauner said. "My spirit feels crushed when I’m in a prison."

Rauner said "everyone makes mistakes" and "everyone deserves a second chance."

Story source: Illinois Public Radio