Illinois lawmakers take testimony on prisons

The Associated PressJuly 15, 2014 

— A legislative committee is gathering information on ways to address Illinois' prison population.

The Joint Criminal Justice Reform Committee heard more than three hours of testimony Tuesday in Chicago during its first meeting.

The bipartisan committee will also look at how to reduce racial disparities in sentencing and the number of people released from prison who commit new crimes.

Rep. Mike Zalewski (zuh-LEH'-skee) is a Riverside Democrat who pushed to create the committee. He says he wants efforts to be data driven. The group is expected to release recommendations at year's end. Zalewski says he hopes that also means some legislation.

Those who testified included Illinois Department of Corrections officials who raised concerns about the growing number of geriatric inmates. Lake County authorities also discussed issues for mentally-ill inmates.

Information from: WUIS-FM.

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