Full Text of HB2444 101st General Assembly
HB2444enr 101ST GENERAL ASSEMBLY
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AN ACT concerning criminal law.
Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
represented in the General Assembly:
This Act may be referred to as the Children's
Best Interest Act.
The purpose of this Act is to:
(1) prevent unnecessary harm to children caused by
separation from parents during pre-trial detention or
(2) ensure the fair and compassionate treatment of children
whose parents are involved in the criminal justice system by
affording certain basic considerations to these children when
decisions are made that affect them.
Sentences that are based
on evidence-based practices serve families and communities, as
well as defendants. Parental incarceration is classified as an
Adverse Childhood Experience. Multiple peer-reviewed studies
connect Adverse Childhood Experiences, a set of specific
traumatic events that occur during childhood, to poor mental
and physical health outcomes such as chronic diseases, certain
cancers, sexually transmitted infections, depression, and
other mental health conditions. Allowing incarcerated mothers
and babies to co-habitate during the baby's first year of life
leads to babies having more secure attachments when compared to
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those who have not co-habitated for a full year which improves
long-term outcomes for both mothers and babies.
Community-based residential parenting programs and day
programs where parents can serve their sentences with their
infants and children in a non-prison setting that offers
housing and social services serve to enhance parent-child
bonding and foster healthy child development. Family-based
drug treatment programs that offer parenting skills training
and home-based case management services are successful in
reducing parental drug abuse and improving parenting skills.
Parenting classes for fathers and mothers improve parent-child
relationships and attachment, children's self-concept and
behaviors, and feelings of competence among parents. Among
parents who participate in residential drug treatment, those
who have their children with them are far more likely to
complete the program when compared to those who are separated
from their children. Children of parents who participate in
family-based drug treatment are less likely to develop
substance abuse disorders.
The Unified Code of Corrections is amended by
changing Section 5-5-3.1 as follows:
(730 ILCS 5/5-5-3.1)
(from Ch. 38, par. 1005-5-3.1)
Factors in mitigation.
(a) The following
grounds shall be accorded weight in favor
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of withholding or
minimizing a sentence of imprisonment:
(1) The defendant's criminal conduct neither caused
threatened serious physical harm to another.
(2) The defendant did not contemplate that his criminal
cause or threaten serious physical harm to
(3) The defendant acted under a strong provocation.
(4) There were substantial grounds tending to excuse or
the defendant's criminal conduct, though failing
to establish a
(5) The defendant's criminal conduct was induced or
by someone other than the defendant.
(6) The defendant has compensated or will compensate
of his criminal conduct for the damage or injury
that he sustained.
(7) The defendant has no history of prior delinquency
criminal activity or has led a law-abiding life for a
period of time before the commission of the
(8) The defendant's criminal conduct was the result of
circumstances unlikely to recur.
(9) The character and attitudes of the defendant
indicate that he is
unlikely to commit another crime.
(10) The defendant is particularly likely to comply
with the terms of
a period of probation.
The imprisonment of the defendant would
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hardship to his dependents.
(12) The imprisonment of the defendant would endanger
his or her medical
(13) The defendant was a person with an intellectual
disability as defined in Section 5-1-13 of
(14) The defendant sought or obtained emergency
medical assistance for an overdose and was convicted of a
Class 3 felony or higher possession, manufacture, or
delivery of a controlled, counterfeit, or look-alike
substance or a controlled substance analog under the
Illinois Controlled Substances Act or a Class 2 felony or
higher possession, manufacture or delivery of
methamphetamine under the Methamphetamine Control and
Community Protection Act.
(15) At the time of the offense, the defendant is or
had been the victim of domestic violence and the effects of
the domestic violence tended to excuse or justify the
defendant's criminal conduct. As used in this paragraph
(15), "domestic violence" means abuse as defined in Section
103 of the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986.
(16) At the time of the offense, the defendant was
suffering from a serious mental illness which, though
insufficient to establish the defense of insanity,
substantially affected his or her ability to understand the
nature of his or her acts or to conform his or her conduct
to the requirements of the law.
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(17) At the time of the offense, the defendant was
suffering from post-partum depression or post-partum
psychosis which was either undiagnosed or untreated, or
both, and this temporary mental illness tended to excuse
justify the defendant's criminal conduct and the defendant
has been diagnosed as suffering from post-partum
post-partum psychosis, or both, by a
qualified medical person and the diagnoses or
both, was not used at trial. In this paragraph (17):
means a mood disorder
which strikes many
women during and after pregnancy
which usually occurs during
pregnancy and up to 12
months after delivery. This depression
"Post-partum psychosis" means an extreme form of
depression which can occur during
pregnancy and up to 12
months after delivery. This can
include losing touch with
reality, distorted thinking,
delusions, auditory and visual
paranoia, hyperactivity and rapid speech, or mania.
(18) The defendant is the parent of a child or infant
whose well-being will be negatively affected by the
parent's absence. Circumstances to be considered in
assessing this factor in mitigation include:
(A) that the parent is breastfeeding the child;
(B) the age of the child, with strong consideration
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given to avoid disruption of the caregiving of an
infant, pre-school or school-age child by a parent;
(C) the role of the parent in the day-to-day
educational and medical needs of the child;
(D) the relationship of the parent and the child;
(E) any special medical, educational, or
psychological needs of the child;
(F) the role of the parent in the financial support
of the child.
Under this Section, the defendant shall have the right to
present a Family Impact Statement at sentencing, which the
court shall consider prior to imposing any sentence and may
include testimony from family and community members, written
statements, video, and documentation.
Unless the court finds
that the parent poses a significant risk to the community that
outweighs the risk of harm from the parent's removal from the
family, the court shall impose a sentence in accordance with
subsection (b) that allows the parent to continue to care for
the child or children.
(19) The defendant serves as the caregiver for a
relative who is ill, disabled, or elderly.
(b) If the court, having due regard for the character of
offender, the nature and circumstances of the offense and
public interest finds that a sentence of imprisonment is
most appropriate disposition of the offender, or where
provisions of this Code mandate the imprisonment of the
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the grounds listed in paragraph (a) of this
subsection shall be
considered as factors in mitigation of the
(Source: P.A. 99-143, eff. 7-27-15; 99-384, eff. 1-1-16;
99-642, eff. 7-28-16; 99-877, eff. 8-22-16; 100-574, eff.