SPRINGFIELD – To help returning citizens reintegrate successfully into their communities and reduce recidivism, State Senator Mike Simmons passed legislation in the Senate on Thursday.

“I am dedicated to serving all 7th District constituents, which includes returning citizens,” said Simmons (D-Chicago). “Everyone deserves the opportunity to establish stability in their life and take care of basic human needs, such as finding gainful employment, housing, and healthcare before owing fees from prior criminal proceedings.”

Senate Bill 2175 prohibits courts from ordering the payment of outstanding fees, fines, taxes or any costs arising from criminal proceedings for the first year after a person returns from incarceration. Currently, Illinois does not have a law striking fees for a certain amount of days post-confinement. However, under the Unified Code of Corrections, the court may revoke a fine if good cause is shown.

“Successful rehabilitation means giving returning citizens practical support as they reintegrate into the community,” Simmons said. “This bill does not erase fees, but rather provides a reasonable amount of time to help break the cruel cycle where returning citizens are expected to pay back fees with savings they may not have.”

Senate Bill 2175 passed the Senate and now heads to the House for further consideration.