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Illinois Revises Gang Member Contact LawAs of the beginning of the year, Illinois has revised a criminal law that critics claim was being used to unfairly target and arrest people on parole or probation. The revised law makes it a class A misdemeanor for certain people on probation to participate in gang-related activity. The previous version of the law was viewed as overly broad and resulted in parolees being arrested for simply being seen with someone in a gang. By changing the language of the law, lawmakers hope to reduce the number of arrests involving nonviolent offenders who are only guilty by association.

The Previous Law

The Illinois Criminal Code of 2012 included a law against “unlawful contact with streetgang members.” As a condition of parole or probation, a court can order a subject to refrain from direct or indirect contact with a known gang member. The law made violating this court order a misdemeanor. The only exception to the law was if the gang member was a family member or living in the same household. For people living in areas with high gang activity, avoiding contact with gang members can be difficult. They could be arrested for:

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