Advocates are saying a change to Illinois’ felony murder statute doesn’t go far enough.
The change was made by state lawmakers January 2021 as part of the sweeping criminal justice law.
The law removes the possibility of prosecutors charging defendants with murder in cases when a third party — like the police or a homeowner — is responsible for the killing. But criminal justice groups say the reform should have been made retroactive — and are lobbying for further changes.
A new report from Injustice Watch reveals felony murder laws have a disproportionate impact on young people of color and women. The analysis found Black men under 25 years old made up 40% of those charged with felony murder while women made up 26% of people serving time for felony murder – compared with 5% of women in Illinois incarcerated under the felony murder statute.
“The new law excludes people of color who have served long sentences because of the previous murder ruling,” Rita Oceguera, an Injustice Watch reporter who covers immigration, policing and class equity, said. “They are unable to have any say, and prosecutors have made it impossible for these young people to go free without conviction.
Chloe Hilles, Injustice Watch reporting resident, joined Oceguera on “Chicago Tonight” to discuss the new ruling and how it disproportionately impacts inmates of color.