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Report for America is a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues and communities.

Criminal Justice Reform Bill Already Faces Criticism

Senator Dave Syverson

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law a massive criminal justice overhaul. Critics are already lining up. 


Rockford-area Republican Sen. Dave Syverson said he sympathizes with the opponents of the measure, and referred to it as a “blatant anti-police bill.” 

"Well, certainly I'm disappointed that bill was signed and not vetoed, or even amendatorily vetoed. There are some things in there that make sense. Problem is that the major things that are in there clearly are going to tie the hands of law enforcement."


The bill includes expanded training for law enforcement, use of body cameras and ends cash bail for pretrial detention by 2023 among other provisions. It also includes a renewed process for police decertification in the event of a felony conviction and a limited list of misdemeanors.


Additionally, Pritzker signed into law improvements to the state’s Crime Victim Compensation Program which would enable the attorney general’s office to more efficiently administer benefits in order to make resources more accessible to survivors.


Moreover, Attorney General Kwame Raoul said that wants to set the record straight, that the the omnibus bill isn't “anti-police.”


Raoul said, "I think it was pro-law enforcement because the retaining of people on police departments anywhere in the state, who are not worthy, who are guilty of misconduct does not benefit law enforcement.”


  • Juanpablo Ramirez-Franco is a current corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project which is a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms.
Juanpablo covers environmental, substandard housing and police-community relations. He’s been a bilingual facilitator at the StoryCorps office in Chicago. As a civic reporting fellow at City Bureau, a non-profit news organization that focuses on Chicago’s South Side, Ramirez-Franco produced print and audio stories about the Pilsen neighborhood. Before that, he was a production intern at the Third Coast International Audio Festival and the rural America editorial intern at In These Times magazine. Ramirez-Franco grew up in northern Illinois. He is a graduate of Knox College.