Bills Seek To Help Parolees Avoid A 'Tripwire'
Two Illinois legislators are sponsoring bills that could address a big uptick in the number of people on parole arrested for being in contact with a gang member.
State Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) sees the charge as unfair, given the difficulty in some neighborhoods of avoiding people police believe to be gang members.
“It’s like a tripwire for folks who are struggling already,” she said. “In many of the communities that these folks are returning to, it is impossible to not be in proximity to someone who is actually or perceived to be a gang member. In some cases, that’s your family member. What are you supposed to do? Not go home?"
Cassidy's bill would change the violation from “contact with” a gang member to participation in gang activities. A bill from Rep. Justin Slaughter (D-Chicago) would exempt participation in “pro-social” activities like church or community service.