SPRINGFIELD – Illinois judges would be encouraged to consider the negative consequences children at home could face when determining imprisonment length for an expectant or current mother under an initiative that passed the Senate Criminal Law Committee Tuesday.

State Senator Meg Loughran Cappel (D-Shorewood) is the lead sponsor of the legislation.

“All judges have options when deciding the length of and manner in which guilty parties serve their sentence,” Loughran Cappel said. “Taking the livelihood of children, who otherwise could be uprooted, into account when sentencing mothers, is the humane thing to do.”

To discourage further disruption of families caused by a parent going to jail, Loughran Cappel’s initiative creates a weighing factor for courts to consider when determining the imprisonment time of pregnant women or women with young children in their care.

“The actions of the parent should not mean negative consequences for the child,” Loughran Cappel said.

Senate Bill 1566 awaits further consideration before the full Senate.

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