ASMHunterGroup“Today’s Chicago teens face unprecedented challenges like worrying about personal safety, graduating high school and finding a job,” said State Senator Mattie Hunter. “Yet, they continually prove why they and after school programs matter.”

The youth of After School Matters, a non-profit organization, reject violence and joblessness as being the norm in their personal narratives. Teens, such as Simeon Career seniors Akiya Cole and Debrya Fullbright, take action in their communities by serving as role models.

On November 19, Hunter sat down with these future leaders of the TechKno Camp, a video and film production program, to discuss their roles in their neighborhood and participate in their film about Chicago gun violence.

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Click for printable flyer.State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-3, Chicago) will host a free college fair on Friday, November 20 at the VanderCook College of Music. Representatives from over 30 institutions and Historically Black Colleges and Universities will be in attendance.

“We’re helping connect talented students with the opportunities they need. We’re also giving recruiters access to Chicago’s brightest youth,” said Hunter.

The event is open to high school teens, parents and adults seeking higher education opportunities. The Illinois Student Assistance Commission,  State Representative Sonya Harper, State Representative Ken Dunkin and VanderCook College of Music-sponsored event will be held from 9 a.m. to noon.

Attendees are encouraged to bring resumes and prepare questions for college recruiters.

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I held a press conference today to announce a report that reveals that African Americans charged with low-level drug crimes were sent to prison at a rate almost five times greater than whites in 2005, the most recent year for which the comprehensive data set was available.

In 2008, I sponsored Senate Bill 2476 creating The Illinois Disproportionate Justice Impact Study Commission to examine the impact of Illinois drug laws on racial and ethnic groups. Hunter co-chaired the Commission that found in its independent research that, among defendants charged with a Class 4, low-level drug possession, 19 percent of African-American defendants were sentenced to prison, compared with 4 percent of white defendants.

In Cook County, the disparity was even greater. African Americans in Cook County arrested only for Class 4 possession were eight times more likely than whites to be sentenced to prison.

Additionally, statewide arrest data indicated that disproportionality in drug arrests occurred in 62 of Illinois’ 102 counties, including urban, suburban, and rural areas. Racial disparities for drug arrests varied widely by county but tended to be greater in jurisdictions with smaller populations of nonwhite residents.

Key recommendations include:

1. Institute Racial & Ethnic Impact Statements: Legislators should be able to request the attachment of a Racial & Ethnic Impact Statement to bills or appropriation measures that impact criminal offenses, penalties, sentencing, probation, or parole policies.

2. Expand Sentencing Alternatives: The State of Illinois and local governments should support jurisdictions in maximizing their use of diversionary programs and sentencing alternatives, including day reporting centers, drug schools, drug courts and other specialty courts, first offender probation, and designated program supervision.

3. Reduce Barriers to Employment: In criminal background checks conducted for employers, the State of Illinois should prohibit the inclusion of drug-related arrests without conviction.

4. Use Drug Forfeiture Funds to Address the Problem: Jurisdictions should define a fixed portion of existing drug asset forfeiture funds to support treatment and diversion programs in addition to enforcement and prosecution activities.

5. Fund Alternatives to Incarceration. The State of Illinois should establish budget policy and priorities to promote full utilization of existing diversion programs or alternatives to incarceration, as well as the accompanying planning processes and training as supported by Adult Redeploy Illinois.

For more information about the Commission's findings click here.

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Please click on the link below to view my January newsletter.  And don't forget to sign up to receive my monthly newsletter by filling out the form on my homepage!

Senator Hunter's January Newsletter

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Office Information

Springfield Office:
417-C Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-5966
(217) 782-1631 FAX
District Office:
2929 S. Wabash Ave., Suite 102
Chicago, IL 60616
(312) 949-1908
(312) 949-1958 FAX

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