Do Illinois Drug-Free Zone Laws Shield Children from Drug Crimes?

(Chicago, IL) – Illinois drug-free zone laws have mushroomed and mutated over the years with the intention of blunting drug crimes that affect children. But do they work?

The Drug-Free Zone Laws Task Force, created by Senate Resolution 255 under the sponsorship of State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago), intends to answer that question.

The goal of the panel, if it wins approval by the Senate, is to research and evaluate the effectiveness of drug-free zones and their unintended consequences.

Findings and recommendations by the task force, which would be staffed by TASC’s Center for Health and Justice, would be presented in a report to the Governor and legislature by January 1, 2013.

The resolution is a direct outcome of recommendations made by the Illinois Disproportionate Justice Impact Study Commission, a statewide, bipartisan group established in 2008 to examine the impact of Illinois drug laws on racial and ethnic groups. The Commission’s final report, released to the Illinois legislature in December 2010, recommended that the State establish a Task Force to review Illinois’ drug-free zone laws.

TASC, Inc. has a 35-year history of promoting social justice and providing alternatives to incarceration in Illinois. TASC’s Racial Justice Initiative, including dissemination of the findings of the Illinois Disproportionate Justice Impact Study Commission, has received generous support from The Chicago Community Trust.

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