HB2541 EngrossedLRB101 10372 RLC 55478 b

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. Short title. This Act may be cited as the
5Re-Entering Citizens Civics Education Act.
6    Section 5. Definitions. In this Act:
7    "Committed person" means a person committed to the
9    "Commitment" means a judicially determined placement in
10the custody of the Department of Corrections or the Department
11of Juvenile Justice on the basis of conviction or delinquency.
12    "Correctional institution or facility" means a Department
13of Corrections or Department of Juvenile Justice building or
14part of a Department of Corrections or Department of Juvenile
15Justice building where committed persons are detained in a
16secure manner.
17    "Department" includes the Department of Corrections and
18the Department of Juvenile Justice, unless the text solely
19specifies a particular Department.
20    "Detainee" means a committed person in the physical custody
21of the Department of Corrections or the Department of Juvenile
23    "Director" includes the Director of the Department of



HB2541 Engrossed- 2 -LRB101 10372 RLC 55478 b

1Corrections and the Department of Juvenile Justice unless the
2text solely specifies a particular Director.
3    "Discharge" means the end of a sentence or the final
4termination of a detainee's physical commitment to and
5confinement in the Department of Corrections or Department of
6Juvenile Justice.
7    "Peer educator" means an incarcerated citizen who is
8specifically trained in voting rights education, who shall
9conduct voting and civics education workshops for detainees
10scheduled for discharge within 6 months.
11    "Program" means to the nonpartisan peer education and
12information instruction established by this Act.
13    "Re-entering citizen" means any United States citizen who
14is: 17 years of age or older; in the physical custody of the
15Department of Corrections or Department of Juvenile Justice;
16and scheduled to be re-entering society within 6 months.
17    Section 10. Purpose; program. The Department of
18Corrections and the Department of Juvenile Justice shall
19provide a nonpartisan peer-led civics program throughout the
20correctional institutions of this State to teach civics to
21soon-to-be released citizens who will be re-entering society.
22The goal of the program is to promote the successful
23integration of re-entering citizens, promote democracy, and
24reduce rates of recidivism within this State. This program
25shall coincide with and enhance existing laws to ensure that



HB2541 Engrossed- 3 -LRB101 10372 RLC 55478 b

1re-entering citizens understand their civic responsibility and
2know how to secure or regain their right to vote as part of the
3exit process.
4    Section 15. Curriculum and eligibility. The civics peer
5education program shall consist of a rigorous curriculum, and
6participants shall be instructed on subjects including, but not
7limited to, voting rights, governmental institutions, current
8affairs, and simulations of voter registration, election, and
9democratic processes. Each workshop shall consist of 3 sessions
10that are 90 minutes each and that do not need to be taken
11consecutively. The Department must offer re-entering citizens
12scheduled to be discharged within 6 months with the civics peer
13education program, and each re-entering citizen must enroll in
14the program one to 6 months prior to his or her expected date
15of release. This workshop must be included in the standard exit
16process. Delays in a workshop being provided shall not cause
17delays in discharge. Detainees may not be prevented from
18attending workshops due to staffing shortages, lockdowns, or to
19conflicts with family or legal visits, court dates, medical
20appointments, commissary visits, recreational sessions,
21dining, work, class, or bathing schedules. In case of conflict
22or staffing shortages, re-entering citizens must be given full
23opportunity to attend a workshop at a later time.
24    Section 20. Peer educator training. The civics peer



HB2541 Engrossed- 4 -LRB101 10372 RLC 55478 b

1education program shall be taught by peer educators who are
2citizens incarcerated in Department of Corrections and
3Department of Juvenile Justice facilities and specially
4trained by experienced peer educators and established
5nonpartisan civic organizations. The nonpartisan civic
6organizations shall provide adequate training to peer
7educators on matters including, but not limited to, voting
8rights, governmental institutions, current affairs, and
9simulations of voter registration, election, and democratic
10processes, and shall provide periodic updates to program
11content and to peer educators.
12    Section 25. Voter and civic education program; content.
13    (a) Program content shall provide the following:
14        (1) nonpartisan information on voting history
15    procedures;
16        (2) nonpartisan definitions of local, State, and
17    federal governmental institutions and offices; and
18        (3) examples and simulations of registration and
19    voting processes.
20    (b) Established nonpartisan civic organizations shall
21provide periodic updates to program content and, if applicable,
22peer educators. Updates shall reflect major relevant changes to
23election laws and processes in Illinois.
24    (c) Program content shall be delivered in the following



HB2541 Engrossed- 5 -LRB101 10372 RLC 55478 b

1        (1) verbally via peer educators;
2        (2) broadcasts via Department of Corrections and
3    Department of Juvenile Justice internal television
4    channels; or
5        (3) printed information packets.
6    (d) Peer educators shall disseminate printed information
7for voting in the releasee's county, including, but not limited
8to, election authorities' addresses, all applicable Internet
9websites, and public contact information for all election
10authorities. This information shall be compiled into a civics
11handbook. The handbook shall also include key information
12condensed into a pocket information card.
13    (e) This information shall also be compiled electronically
14and posted on Department of Corrections' website along with the
15Department of Corrections' Community Support Advisory Councils
17    (f) Department Directors shall ensure that the wardens of
18all correctional institutions and facilities visibly post this
19information on all common areas of their respective
20institutions, and shall broadcast the same via in-house
21institutional information television channels. Directors shall
22ensure that updated information is distributed in a timely,
23visible, and accessible manner.
24    (g) The Director of Corrections shall order, in a clearly
25visible area of each parole office within this State, the
26posting of a notice stipulating voter eligibility and that



HB2541 Engrossed- 6 -LRB101 10372 RLC 55478 b

1contains the current Internet website address and voter
2registration information provided by State Board of Elections
3regarding voting rights for citizens released from the custody
4of the Department.
5    (h) All program content and materials shall be distributed
6annually to the Community Support Advisory Councils of the
7Department of Corrections for use in re-entry programs across
8this State.
9    Section 30. Power of the Department. The Department of
10Corrections shall adopt rules to carry out this Act within 6
11months after the effective date of this Act.
12    Section 35. Funding. The funding for the voting rights and
13registration peer education program shall be subject to
14appropriation by the General Assembly. The Department may use
15private or federal funding to administer the program,
16including, but not limited to, funds from the United States
17Department of Justice.
18    Section 40. Voter and civic education program monitoring
19and enforcement.
20    (a) The Director of Corrections and the Director of
21Juvenile Justice shall ensure that wardens, program,
22educational, and security and movement staff permit these
23workshops to take place, and that re-entering citizens are



HB2541 Engrossed- 7 -LRB101 10372 RLC 55478 b

1escorted to workshops in a consistent and timely manner.
2    (b) Compliance with this Act shall be monitored by a report
3published annually by the Department of Corrections and the
4Department of Juvenile Justice and containing data, including
5numbers of re-entering citizens who enrolled in the program,
6numbers of re-entering citizens who completed the program, and
7total numbers of individuals discharged. Data shall be
8disaggregated by institution, discharge, or residence address
9of citizen, and other factors.
10    Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect on
11January 1, 2020.