DNACHICAGO – State Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) demanded answers and sought solutions to the state crime lab’s backlog of DNA from nearly 700 murder cases during a Senate Public Health and Criminal Law committee hearing this afternoon.

“The backlog in murder DNA processing at the state crime lab is unacceptable,” Van Pelt said. “Technology exists to test DNA in under two hours, yet DNA from nearly 700 murder cases from the past few years is still backlogged. Law enforcement needs to be taking advantage of this technology. There are 700 families waiting for answers. They deserve closure.”

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Category: Press Releases

Senator Patricia Van Pelt speaks during a Senate committee hearingCHICAGO – State Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) is urging other municipalities to follow the Cook County Board’s lead and end the use of controversial gang databases.

“For too long, law enforcement has been using gang databases with little oversight or transparency, despite the harmful, long-lasting effects they can have on the individuals in the databases,” Van Pelt said. “I commend the Cook County Board of Commissioners for voting to dismantle their gang database and put an end to its controversial use, and I encourage other municipalities to do the same.”

The use of gang databases to track individuals labeled as suspected gang members was called into question last year after investigative reports found that hundreds of thousands of Chicagoans have been added to gang databases, 95 percent of whom are people of color.

Van Pelt first raised the issue in the legislature last spring after learning about gang databases and the lack of oversight of their use. Since then, she’s held public hearings and met with law enforcement, activists and individuals who have been negatively impacted by being listed in a database.

“I’m continuing to work on legislation at the Capitol to ensure that innocent people aren’t added to a gang database without cause and to require oversight and accountability for the use of gang databases,” Van Pelt said.

Van Pelt sponsored a resolution requiring the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority to conduct a review of the shared gang databases operating in Illinois and submit a report to the General Assembly by June 30, 2019.

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Category: Press Releases

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) released the following statement in response to the governor’s budget address:

“Finally, a budget proposal that includes more funding for important human service programs and investments in communities of color,” Van Pelt said. “Gov. Pritzker’s proposal shows that he understands the value of investing in restorative justice efforts and that he is committed to rebuilding social service programs that were devastated by years of funding cuts.”


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Category: Press Releases

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) issued the following statement after voting to increase the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour.

“After years of stagnant wages, it’s time for hardworking Illinoisans to finally get a raise,” Van Pelt said. “Raising the minimum wage will help lift families out of poverty and it will have the biggest impact on black, Latino and female workers. I’m proud to support this important effort to help reduce poverty and get us one step closer to closing the income inequality gap.”


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Category: Press Releases
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