State Rep. Davidsmeyer discusses bill encouraging boot camp over prison for certain inmates

By Blake Schnitker on April 26 at 12:31pm

A local State Representative passed a piece of legislation emphasizing boot camp rehabilitation as opposed to the state’s inmates spending the majority of their prison time behind bars.

Jacksonville-based State Representative C.D. Davidsmeyer’s House Bill 4364 was voted through the House Tuesday and is now on its way to the Senate. The legislation aims to amend the Unified Code of Corrections, and in turn, attempts to provide options for boot camp rather than state prison specifically to inmates who have not committed a heinous crime.

This bill comes a little more than a week after the officials with the Illinois Department of Corrections claimed that they needed approximately $400 million dollars before summer in order to sustain operations. Davidsmeyer says he hopes this bill helps gear Illinois prisons in the direction of reforming inmates and preparing them to re-enter society rather than simply punishing them.

“For a long time, I feel like the focus of corrections has become just punishment, not reforming the inmates and getting them ready to go back into society, and I think this is a step towards providing a more rigorous lifestyle and making sure that (the inmates) learn respect a little bit better and things of that sort. So I think this a step towards preparing them for (when they return to) day-to-day life,” says Davidsmeyer.

Davidsmeyer explains why he believes the option of boot camps could potentially be more productive in reforming the state’s prisoners.

“It really focuses more on the boot camps, which are almost military-style of getting up early, yes sir no sir…that type of general training. It teaches general life skills and has counseling and things of that sort as well,” Davidsmeyer says.

In the House on Tuesday, Davidsmeyer’s bill passed unanimously, with 112 voting in favor, one absentee vote and five excused absences. Davidsmeyer says it should be sent to the Senate for a vote in the near future.