Illinois bill bans police from lying to underage suspects

In an effort to improve the criminal justice system, Illinois became the first state this week to ban policy from giving youth false information during interrogations. This practice has been linked to higher rates of wrongful convictions and false confessions, especially among juvenile suspects. 

Senate Bill 2122, originally sponsored by state Senator Robert Peters and state Representative Justin Slaughter, was approved with near unanimous votes in both houses and is expected to be signed into law by the governor in the coming weeks. 

Minors are two to three times more likely to confess to a crime they did not commit and police regularly lie to suspects to secure confessions including stating that their DNA has been found at the scene or that they were identified by eyewitnesses. This deceitful practice has led to 100 wrongful convictions based on false confessions over the last few years in Illinois alone. Of these cases, 31 involved minors. 

The bill is supported by not only bipartisan leadership, but also the state’s Chiefs of Police, the Illinois State’s Attorneys’ Association, and the Office of Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx. Oregon and New York are both currently considering similar bills in their states and hopefully we will see the practice of police deceit banned across the country in the near future.

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