lightford smile floor 2SPRINGFIELD – In an effort to fight back against deep cuts to critical state programs and services, Assistant Majority Leader Senator Kimberly A. Lightford voted to fund the Dept. of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) at a level of $150 million – $16 million more than last year. Senator Lightford released this statement about her vote.

“A higher funding level for the Department of Juvenile Justice will allow the department to better reach and rehabilitate the youth of our state. Increasing the number of staff working with our troubled youth will improve safety for the children and staff, while improving educational opportunities and the overall chances of rehabilitative success for each child.

“Stronger mental-health and special-education services within the department will ensure that every young person is provided the help they need. We also need reform efforts concerning our commitments to children beyond their release dates. More formalized hearings will go a long way in preventing future incarceration and protecting the futures of all children and adolescents in Illinois.”

Category: News

Senator Lightford had the pleasure of hosting St. Joseph High School basketball Coach Gene Pingatore and former St. Joe's basketball player and current Boston Celtics small forward Evan Turner on the Senate floor last week!

The General Assembly passed resolutions designating: Canterbury Street from Mandel Avenue to Westchester Boulevard as "Evan Turner Street," Cermak Road from South Wolf Road to Westchester Boulevard as "Gene Pingatore Road," and Westchester Boulevard from Roosevelt Road to Cermak Road as "Isiah Thomas Boulevard" in honor of the contributions made by all three basketball legends to athletics and the local community.Lightford turner groupphoto

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Category: News

Senators Fathers Day Event Flyer 2015 Page 1Senators Fathers Day Event Flyer 2015 Final Page 1 Page 2Senators Fathers Day Event Flyer 2015 Final Page 1 Page 3

Category: News

lbc1Springfield — A recent study conducted by the University of Chicago Crime Lab revealed that summer youth employment initiatives supported by members of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus resulted in decreased levels of violent crime during summer months. Violence prevention programs provided jobs for thousands of at-risk youth during the summer months.

Participants held a variety of jobs, ranging from camp counselors to administrative aides. A majority of the participants were from neighborhoods where unemployment rates exceed 19 percent.

"Providing our youth with alternatives to being in the streets is necessary to ensure the next generation has the chance to thrive," said Senator Emil Jones III, Chairman of the Senate Black Caucus. "I hope Governor Rauner will take note and make funding for summer youth employment programs a priority."

Representative LaShawn Ford, Chairman of the House Restorative Justice Committee believes summer jobs programs keep at-risk youth from entering the correctional system by having alternative activity that helps them develop life and career skills.

"Housing an inmate in Cook County jail costs around $45,000 per year as opposed to the summer Youth Employment Program that costs around $3,000 per year per participant," Ford said. "Summer employment saves taxpayers money in the long run."

Last year, the program provided employment and job skills training for more than 4,000 youth who worked part-time at partnering local businesses, government offices and non-profit organizations."

"The summer months are primarily when we see a spike in crime across the city. If we want to see continued reductions in crime and create a stronger workforce, summer youth programs are where we can get our highest return on investing in our youth," said Black Caucus Chairman Senator Kimberly A. Lightford.

A study by the University of Chicago Crime Lab found that violent crime arrests decreased by 43 percent for teens who were employed and received support from mentors.

"Violent crime is incredibly regressive in its impact—it takes the greatest toll on society's most vulnerable," said Roseanna Ander, Executive Director of the Crime Lab. "There is far too little policy and research attention, as well as precious few resources focused on adolescents, especially those from disadvantaged neighborhoods who are really struggling."

Category: News

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