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Illinois Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC-IL)

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The Illinois Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC-IL) is locally-led and collectively organizing the Reform Jewish Movement state-wide to build a more just and compassionate Land of Lincoln for all. RAC-IL represents 25 Reform synagogues and 50,000 Reform Jews across Illinois. In 2020, RAC-IL will be working on immigrant justice, and criminal justice reform. These campaigns are focused on one piece of legislation, in the case of the immigration justice campaign, and one goal in the case of criminal justice reform.

Immigrant Justice

Illinois Way Forward Act (SB 3774/HB 394)
 
Families throughout Illinois are under threat of separation due to harmful, and often lawless, immigration enforcement. Currently, federal immigration agents ruthlessly arrest immigrants, often with the assistance of law enforcement, leaving many families afraid to seek medical attention, take children to school, attend court hearings, seek police protection, or access public services without being arrested. Despite many protective policies in place, further legislation is necessary to ensure that immigrant families can safely interact with law enforcement without fear of arrest or deportation.
 
The Illinois Way Forward Act would:
  • Limit police collaboration with immigration agencies by specifying additional prohibited activities by law enforcement related to a person’s immigration status;
  • require local law enforcement to submit quarterly reports to the state Attorney General regarding any requests from federal immigration officials;
  • ensure that immigrant families can cooperate with law enforcement and hold law enforcement agencies accountable if they violate state laws.

Racial Justice and Criminal Justice Reform

Campaign to End Money Bond
 
The criminal justice system in Illinois is anything but just, resulting in mass incarceration which disproportionately impacts communities of color. The injustice begins in the money bail system, as money bond creates a system in which wealth, rather than public safety, determines whether someone remains in jail prior to their trial. The money bond system allows poverty to drive incarceration and may force innocent people to remain in jail simply because they cannot afford bail.
 
As part of the Coalition to End Money Bond, RAC-IL is advocating for several reforms to the money bail system which will dramatically reduce the number of people incarcerated pretrial and save Illinois millions of dollars. The Coalition to End Money Bond is asking legislators to:
  • Prohibit the use of money bond so that no one will be incarcerated before trial simply because they cannot afford to pay bail;
  • maintain public safety and judicial discretion without using money by establishing a legal process that allows judges to order pretrial detention for only serious cases where the accused presents a specific risk of harming others or fleeing, while also providing legal safeguards;
  • improve system efficiency by giving law enforcement the ability o release someone after arrest and allowing the Court to issue Notice to Appears in order to ensure court appearance;
  • increase government transparency and accountability by requiring that statewide data on detention, pretrial incarceration, and other key metrics be collected regularly and made public.