CHICAGO – The John Howard Association has named State Senator Jacqueline Collins its 2020 Legislator of the Year, highlighting her work in criminal justice reform. The prison oversight group honored Collins Thursday during a virtual forum on pandemic conditions within the prison system.
 
“There can be no criminal justice reform without prison reform,” Collins said. “And if we truly believe in the redemption of the lost, reform must seek to restore and rehabilitate the human dignity and self-esteem of the incarcerated.”
 
The award comes as Collins sponsors Senate Bill 3479 during the upcoming fall legislative session, which would require authorities to investigate and report any deaths of those in police or correctional custody to the Illinois Attorney General within 30 days of their death, and that all such reports must be made searchable through the websites of the Secretary of State, Department of Juvenile Justice, and Department of Corrections.
 
In recent years, Collins has maintained a strong record on criminal justice reform, pushing for more avenues for those wrongfully included on the Murderer and Violent Offender Against Youth registry to request a review and seek corrections for errors. She also fought to remove fees associated with expunging juvenile criminal records, pushed to more strictly limit the offenses that automatically disqualify individuals from employment with a park district, and has pushed for fairer rules regarding with whom those on parole may associate without prior required written permission when they work in community programs, worship services, volunteering, and engaging families, ensuring fewer unfair parole violations for those reentering their community in good faith.

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