Harper Passes Bill Helping Soon-to-be-Released Inmates Reintegrate with Civics Education

04/12/2019
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Sonya Harper’s measure to provide soon-to-be released incarcerated
individuals with civics education in order to reduce recidivism passed the Illinois House.

“We must explore every avenue to help successfully reintegrate individuals being released from prison
into civic society,” Harper said. “Making sure re-entering citizens have an understanding of their rights
as citizens and how they can exercise them in our democracy will help reduce recidivism and build
stronger communities.”

Harper sponsored House Bill 2541, the Re-Entering Citizens Civics Education Act, to require the
Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) and the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice (IDJJ) to
provide a civics education course to individuals within six months of their custody release date.
Curriculum for the program will include current affairs, government, voting registration and rights, as
well as simulations of the democratic process including elections. Instructors will be peer educators
trained by nonpartisan civic organizations. The measure is an expansion in scope and scale of a voter
education program based at Stateville Correctional Center designed to help reduce recidivism and
increase civic awareness among citizens re-entering society from correctional facilities.

“Too many Illinoisans believe that a criminal record prohibits them from voting and participating in
our democracy, but that’s not true in our state,” added Harper. “I strongly urge my colleagues in the
Senate and Governor J.B. Pritzker to support this commonsense measure to reduce recidivism and
strengthen our democracy.”


Email:
District Office:
4926 South Ashland
Chicago, IL 60609
(773) 925-6580