The Illinois House passed a bill Thursday that would mean police could no longer arrest parolees just for having contact with a gang member.
By a 67-to-48 bipartisan vote, the House moved to change the law so parolees would need to be involved in gang-related activity to face arrest. The measure now goes to the Senate.
“What we were trying to do was to take away the most egregious component of the law — people who weren’t doing anything other than being in their neighborhood — and get at the core issue, which was criminal behavior,” said state Rep. Kelly Cassidy, a Chicago Democrat who is chief sponsor of the bill.
UPDATE: Rauner signs bill to end arrests for parolees just for being seen with gang members, Aug. 23, 2017
The Chicago Sun-Times reported Sunday that in recent years Chicago police have arrested thousands of parolees for having contact with alleged gang members. In communities with large populations of ex-offenders, many parolees have been locked up after walking down the street, visiting with neighbors or getting rides, though they were accused of no other criminal activity.
The police say the law has allowed them to ensure that felons are following the terms of their release from prison. But Cassidy and others say the law unfairly targets parolees trying to get back on their feet.