Judges will be encouraged to prescribe longer sentences for repeat gun offenders under a plan signed into law by Gov. Bruce Rauner.
The legislation changes gun sentencing laws so that instead of a range of three to 14 years for some repeat gun crimes, judges would hand out sentences of seven to 14 years. If they want to depart from that guideline, they will have to explain why.
The bill also expands probation eligibility for first-time drug offenders, gives the state Department of Corrections more discretion in awarding sentencing credit, creates a task force within the Illinois State Police for combating gun violence and other violent crimes, and creates a program aimed at first-time offenders to address the underlying reasons behind their crimes. It takes effect in January.