Lawmakers Propose Adding Crime Victims' Bill Of Rights To Illinois Law

May 11, 2015

The sponsor of House Bill 1121, Rep. Lou Lang, talks about victims' rights.
Credit Lisa Ryan/WUIS

Illinois voters passed a constitutional amendment last year to ensure crime victims' rights. Now lawmakers are working to make the criminal code match up.

Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins fights for victims' rights because her sister, brother-in-law and their child were murdered. She was denied the right to provide a victim impact statement. Even though Illinois law allowed impact statements at the time, it didn't allow victims any recourse if they were denied.

"It had been very difficult on our family then, and to this day, it really tugs at me and tugs at all of us that we were never actually able to say to the offender what he had taken from us," she said.

The Crime Victims' Bill of Rights now guarantees victims and their families such avenues. A proposal in the Illinois Senate would add the constitutional amendment language to existing law to make sure it doesn't contradict.