FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 07, 2023
Contact: Emma Bittner
HB 1119 Prompted by YI Young Advocates’ Recommendations
HB 1119 amends the membership of the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA) to include three individuals who report having been incarcerated in a Department of Corrections facility. ICJIA is a state agency dedicated to improving the administration of criminal justice and works to ensure the criminal justice system in Illinois is efficient, effective, and equitable. ICJIA brings together key leaders in the criminal justice space and the public to identify critical issues within Illinois’s criminal justice system and works to propose and evaluate policies, programs, and legislation that address those issues.
Currently, six members of the public are members of ICJIA, but this bill would require that three of the six members have lived experience with the criminal justice system.
Young Invincibles Midwest trains young adults ages 18-34 in Illinois on advocacy and leadership through a 12-week, paid training program. At the end of the program, Young Advocates present a policy proposal employing their honed skills. For the Fall 2022 cohort, Advocates Adella Bass-Lawson, CeCe Kilgore, and Cenia Villasenor created and pitched a policy proposal to ensure residents with lived experience in the Illinois criminal justice system, who are disproportionately Black and Latinx men, are guaranteed to be included in the policymaking process for future reforms.
In response, Will Guzzardi, Illinois State Representative issued the following response:
“The youth leaders at Young Invincibles did their homework, and they came up with a great mechanism to include the voices of affected communities in decisions about our criminal legal system. I’m excited to introduce legislation that reflects their insight, and I’m eager to work with them on getting it passed into law.”
In response, Adella Bass-Lawson, Bill Inspiration and Young Advocates Program Alumni from Young Invincibles issued the following response:
“It is imperative to have those with lived experience in the system have a voice in how the Illinois criminal justice system runs. My colleagues, CeCe and Cenia, who helped form this recommendation, and I are thrilled to see it become a reality in HB 1119. Mental health is critical in the penal system and heavily neglected. We want programs in the criminal justice system to have input from those who have lived experience in the penal system. Currently, those making these decisions don’t have first-hand knowledge and including the perspective of those previously incarcerated is essential in equipping those in the criminal justice system.”
In response, Hannah Keller, Midwest Policy Manager for Young Invincibles issued the following response:
“Seeing recommendations from our Young Advocates come to life in legislation is incredible and we are so excited to see youth voices represented this session. HB 1119 is critical in helping those in the Illinois criminal justice system, especially Black and Latinx individuals who are disproportionately impacted. YI is ready to advocate for this bill as it moves through the legislative process and uplift the need for representation of those with lived experience.”
About Young Invincibles
Young Invincibles (YI) is a national advocacy organization with offices across the country, including California, Colorado, Texas, Illinois, and New York. YI champions young adults ages 18 to 34 by uplifting their voices and advocating in support of policies that advance young people at the state and federal level. YI informs their advocacy work with quantitative research on issues of higher education, health care, economic security, and civic engagement. For more information, please contact Emma Bittner at (972) 510-3395 or firstname.lastname@example.org