Illinois Toughens Penalties For Hate Crimes

Aug 24, 2017

Hate crimes will be more punishable under a new law the governor signed this week.

Credit CREDIT "COURTROOM ONE GAVEL" BY FLICKR USER BETH CORTEZ-NEAVEL / (CC BY 2.0)

The measure was a result of suggestions from the state’s bi-partisan Holocaust and Genocide Commission. It was introduced to the legislature well before the events in Charlottesville. However, State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, D-Chicago, said it sends a strong message to those considering acting out their hatred.

“Illinois is a very serious state when it comes to addressing hate crimes,” she said, “and if you commit a hate crime, you are going to pay dearly and you are going to learn why you shouldn’t be doing it.”

Those found guilty of hate crimes will now have to take in-person classes teaching why their actions were wrong. Feigenholtz said “making them have a better understanding hopefully will result in a change in their human behavior.”

They'll also have to perform a minimum 200 hours of community service, and serve their sentences consecutively rather than concurrently.