Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of HB2444
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Full Text of HB2444  101st General Assembly




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1    AN ACT concerning criminal law.
2    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
3represented in the General Assembly:
4    Section 1. This Act may be referred to as the Children's
5Best Interest Act.
6    Section 3. Purpose. The purpose of this Act is to:
7    (1) prevent unnecessary harm to children caused by
8separation from parents during pre-trial detention or
9incarceration; and
10    (2) ensure the fair and compassionate treatment of children
11whose parents are involved in the criminal justice system by
12affording certain basic considerations to these children when
13decisions are made that affect them. Sentences that are based
14on evidence-based practices serve families and communities, as
15well as defendants. Parental incarceration is classified as an
16Adverse Childhood Experience. Multiple peer-reviewed studies
17connect Adverse Childhood Experiences, a set of specific
18traumatic events that occur during childhood, to poor mental
19and physical health outcomes such as chronic diseases, certain
20cancers, sexually transmitted infections, depression, and
21other mental health conditions. Allowing incarcerated mothers
22and babies to co-habitate during the baby's first year of life
23leads to babies having more secure attachments when compared to



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1those who have not co-habitated for a full year which improves
2long-term outcomes for both mothers and babies.
3Community-based residential parenting programs and day
4programs where parents can serve their sentences with their
5infants and children in a non-prison setting that offers
6housing and social services serve to enhance parent-child
7bonding and foster healthy child development. Family-based
8drug treatment programs that offer parenting skills training
9and home-based case management services are successful in
10reducing parental drug abuse and improving parenting skills.
11Parenting classes for fathers and mothers improve parent-child
12relationships and attachment, children's self-concept and
13behaviors, and feelings of competence among parents. Among
14parents who participate in residential drug treatment, those
15who have their children with them are far more likely to
16complete the program when compared to those who are separated
17from their children. Children of parents who participate in
18family-based drug treatment are less likely to develop
19substance abuse disorders.
20    Section 5. The Unified Code of Corrections is amended by
21changing Section 5-5-3.1 as follows:
22    (730 ILCS 5/5-5-3.1)  (from Ch. 38, par. 1005-5-3.1)
23    Sec. 5-5-3.1. Factors in mitigation.
24    (a) The following grounds shall be accorded weight in favor



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1of withholding or minimizing a sentence of imprisonment:
2        (1) The defendant's criminal conduct neither caused
3    nor threatened serious physical harm to another.
4        (2) The defendant did not contemplate that his criminal
5    conduct would cause or threaten serious physical harm to
6    another.
7        (3) The defendant acted under a strong provocation.
8        (4) There were substantial grounds tending to excuse or
9    justify the defendant's criminal conduct, though failing
10    to establish a defense.
11        (5) The defendant's criminal conduct was induced or
12    facilitated by someone other than the defendant.
13        (6) The defendant has compensated or will compensate
14    the victim of his criminal conduct for the damage or injury
15    that he sustained.
16        (7) The defendant has no history of prior delinquency
17    or criminal activity or has led a law-abiding life for a
18    substantial period of time before the commission of the
19    present crime.
20        (8) The defendant's criminal conduct was the result of
21    circumstances unlikely to recur.
22        (9) The character and attitudes of the defendant
23    indicate that he is unlikely to commit another crime.
24        (10) The defendant is particularly likely to comply
25    with the terms of a period of probation.
26        (11) (Blank). The imprisonment of the defendant would



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1    entail excessive hardship to his dependents.
2        (12) The imprisonment of the defendant would endanger
3    his or her medical condition.
4        (13) The defendant was a person with an intellectual
5    disability as defined in Section 5-1-13 of this Code.
6        (14) The defendant sought or obtained emergency
7    medical assistance for an overdose and was convicted of a
8    Class 3 felony or higher possession, manufacture, or
9    delivery of a controlled, counterfeit, or look-alike
10    substance or a controlled substance analog under the
11    Illinois Controlled Substances Act or a Class 2 felony or
12    higher possession, manufacture or delivery of
13    methamphetamine under the Methamphetamine Control and
14    Community Protection Act.
15        (15) At the time of the offense, the defendant is or
16    had been the victim of domestic violence and the effects of
17    the domestic violence tended to excuse or justify the
18    defendant's criminal conduct. As used in this paragraph
19    (15), "domestic violence" means abuse as defined in Section
20    103 of the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986.
21        (16) At the time of the offense, the defendant was
22    suffering from a serious mental illness which, though
23    insufficient to establish the defense of insanity,
24    substantially affected his or her ability to understand the
25    nature of his or her acts or to conform his or her conduct
26    to the requirements of the law.



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1        (17) At the time of the offense, the defendant was
2    suffering from post-partum depression or post-partum
3    psychosis which was either undiagnosed or untreated, or
4    both, and this temporary mental illness tended to excuse or
5    justify the defendant's criminal conduct and the defendant
6    has been diagnosed as suffering from post-partum
7    depression or post-partum psychosis, or both, by a
8    qualified medical person and the diagnoses or testimony, or
9    both, was not used at trial. In this paragraph (17):
10            "Post-partum depression" means a mood disorder
11        which strikes many women during and after pregnancy
12        which usually occurs during pregnancy and up to 12
13        months after delivery. This depression can include
14        anxiety disorders.
15            "Post-partum psychosis" means an extreme form of
16        post-partum depression which can occur during
17        pregnancy and up to 12 months after delivery. This can
18        include losing touch with reality, distorted thinking,
19        delusions, auditory and visual hallucinations,
20        paranoia, hyperactivity and rapid speech, or mania.
21        (18) The defendant is the parent of a child or infant
22    whose well-being will be negatively affected by the
23    parent's absence. Circumstances to be considered in
24    assessing this factor in mitigation include:
25            (A) that the parent is breastfeeding the child;
26            (B) the age of the child, with strong consideration



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1        given to avoid disruption of the caregiving of an
2        infant, pre-school or school-age child by a parent;
3            (C) the role of the parent in the day-to-day
4        educational and medical needs of the child;
5            (D) the relationship of the parent and the child;
6            (E) any special medical, educational, or
7        psychological needs of the child;
8            (F) the role of the parent in the financial support
9        of the child.
10    Under this Section, the defendant shall have the right to
11present a Family Impact Statement at sentencing, which the
12court shall consider prior to imposing any sentence and may
13include testimony from family and community members, written
14statements, video, and documentation. Unless the court finds
15that the parent poses a significant risk to the community that
16outweighs the risk of harm from the parent's removal from the
17family, the court shall impose a sentence in accordance with
18subsection (b) that allows the parent to continue to care for
19the child or children.
20        (19) The defendant serves as the caregiver for a
21    relative who is ill, disabled, or elderly.
22    (b) If the court, having due regard for the character of
23the offender, the nature and circumstances of the offense and
24the public interest finds that a sentence of imprisonment is
25the most appropriate disposition of the offender, or where
26other provisions of this Code mandate the imprisonment of the



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1offender, the grounds listed in paragraph (a) of this
2subsection shall be considered as factors in mitigation of the
3term imposed.
4(Source: P.A. 99-143, eff. 7-27-15; 99-384, eff. 1-1-16;
599-642, eff. 7-28-16; 99-877, eff. 8-22-16; 100-574, eff.