SPRINGFIELD – People charged with misdemeanors who are deemed unfit to stand trial would be allowed to be transferred into special programs under a bill sponsored by State Senator Robert Peters.

“There is an alarming number of mentally unwell people who have been convicted of misdemeanors despite being unfit to stand trial for these crimes, and as a result, a lot of these folks end up stuck in the criminal justice system for longer than their original sentence,” said Peters, a Chicago Democrat. “By allowing these people to be transferred into misdemeanant diversion programs, we can give them the help that they so desperately need, which comes not from a jail cell, but from a program designed around their rehabilitation.”

Misdemeanant diversion programs offer mentally ill people charged with a misdemeanor an alternative to incarceration. The programs work to identify individuals with mental illnesses, provide these individuals with stabilizing treatment, and direct these individuals away from incarceration and toward community provided mental health services.

The law would require eligibility screening and an assessment of the defendant, and still leaves the discretion to the court. If approved for the diversionary program, the defendant’s charges may be dismissed with or without prejudice.

The measure is Senate Bill 1188. It passed the Senate Committee on Criminal Law and will now be considered by the full Senate.

Category: Press Releases

 

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