Senate joint hearing focuses on efforts to reduce violence and help those affected by it

crimlaw sims 100620CHICAGO—On Tuesday, members from both chambers of the General Assembly examined opportunities to reduce violence and better support victims throughout Illinois.

“We must evaluate the root causes of violence to make progress in preventing it,” said Senate Criminal Law Chair State Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago). “Oftentimes we talk about a second chance when many people never had a first one, and many survivors are not treated as victims, but suspects. This has to change. We have to provide our communities with a greater level of support and resources.”


Sims co-chaired the committee with State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago), chair of the Senate Special Committee on Public Safety. Chair of the House Judiciary-Criminal Law Committee State Representative Justin Slaughter (D-Chicago) and other committee members also took part in the Senate joint hearing. This is the fourth joint hearing on criminal justice reform called by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus to develop an agenda to eliminate systemic racism ahead of the upcoming veto session. Criminal justice reform is one of four pillars, which are guiding their efforts:


  • Criminal justice reform, violence reduction and police accountability
  • Education and workforce development
  • Economic access, equity and opportunity
  • Health care and human services

"The 'tough on crime' policies that have existed for decades simply do not work and prove that the only way for us to truly win real safety and justice in our communities is to expand violence prevention funding," Peters said. "It must be rooted in relationship building, trauma processing, and most importantly, healing, along with communities that have quality goods and services. This is the only way for us to root out systemic injustices and to make our state whole. Rural and suburban areas, and cities desperately need us to reimagine community in the 21st century.”

"Addressing violence and providing essential services to victims are critical components of our agenda to eliminate systemic racism,” Slaughter said. “By ensuring access to resources such as housing, health care and transitional employment, we can help reduce trauma and create an environment that allows for a more prosperous future for those impacted by gun violence and the effects of mass incarceration."  

Members of the Senate joint committee on Tuesday discussed efforts to reduce violence and provide resources to victims. Members heard testimony from Heartland Alliance, READI Chicago, ChicagoCRED, Community Justice Action Fund, the Office of the Attorney General, the Alliance for Safety and Justice and the Illinois Coalition for Shared Safety.

Senator Elgie R. Sims Jr.

Senator Elgie R. Sims Jr.

17th District

Years served: 2012–2018 (House); 2018–Present (Senate)

Committee assignments: Appropriations I; Appropriations II (Vice-Chairperson); Criminal Law (Chairperson); Judiciary (Vice-Chairperson); Telecommunications & InfoTechnology; Subcommittee on Capital (AP); Subcommittee on Special Issues (CL) (Sub-Chairperson); Subcommittee on CLEAR Compliance (Sub-Chairperson); Sub. on the Const.& Redistricting (Sub-Chairperson); Subcommittee on Civil Rights (Sub-Chairperson); Opioid Crisis Abatement Spec. Com..

Biography: Attorney; born in Chicago; B.S., Political Science, Illinois State University; M.P.A., University of Illinois; J.D., Loyola University Chicago School of Law; married, has two children.

Associated Representatives:
Marcus C. Evans, Jr.
Nicholas K. Smith