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Loyola Connection to New IL Laws

Criminal Justice feature

On Friday, March 10, 2017, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed into law Senate Bill 2872, also known as the Neighborhood Safety Act, which includes a number of the recommendations made by Illinois’ State Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform. Dr. David Olson, Professor and Graduate Program Director in the Department of Criminal Justice and Co-Director of Loyola’s Center for Criminal Justice Research, Policy and Practice was an appointed member of the Commission and conducted extensive research for the Commission. Among the reforms included in this law is a change to the eligibility criteria for inmates incarcerated in Illinois’ prisons to earn sentencing credits for participation in rehabilitative programming. Dr. Olson’s research in Illinois regarding the influence this sentence credit has on treatment matriculation, as well as an MA thesis by former graduate student Erin Sneed, was used to provide empirical evidence and support for this recommendation by the Commission. Combined, the research conducted by Dr. Olson and Ms. Sneed revealed that eligibility for this sentence credit increased the probability of admission into treatment, completion of treatment, and will allow more inmates to access treatment while incarcerated. Ms. Sneed’s thesis, Predictors of Prison-Based Drug Treatment in Illinois, received the 2015 Social Sciences Thesis of the Year Award from Loyola’s Council of Graduate School Programs.