SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Corrections will be required to digitize all master record files thanks to State Senator Rachel Ventura’s measure that was signed into law today.

“We cannot rely on the old paper filing system that is still in place. Papers can go missing, making the outdated release process unnecessarily long,” said Ventura (D-Joliet). “In the long run, having digital access to these records will not only save the state money, but also ensure that those who have been waiting to be released and go back into their communities are not idly waiting for months on end simply because Illinois didn’t have an updated records system.”

The digitization of the records system will include medical and dental records and all other information IDOC maintains concerning its institutions and facilities by July 1, 2029. Additionally, IDOC, in consultation with the Department of Information Technology, will be required to conduct an impact study on or before Jan. 1, 2024.

With a lack of information transfer between correctional and community health care providers, this can lead to disrupted care and augment health risks for individuals leaving prison.
According to the Journal of General Internal Medicine, in “Accessing Prison Medical Records in the United States: a National Analysis,” incarcerated individuals can face extended periods of time waiting for their medical records, prohibiting some from getting proper health care following release.

“When transferring or releasing incarcerated persons, their records must be present at the time of transfer or release to complete the process, and that can take some time. I’m encouraged to see Illinois taking the initiative to streamline and digitize their process,” said Ventura. “The signage of this measure will expedite that process so an incarcerated person is not waiting to be processed and ultimately save the state money as well as getting the person back into their community.”

Senate Bill 442 was signed into law today and is effective immediately.


SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Rachel Ventura was encouraged by the funding for education and local initiatives in the state’s Fiscal Year 2024 budget.

“It’s critical to have a good education at an early age,” said Ventura (D-Joliet). “Not only are there major investments for early education, but also higher education. Investing in resources that afford everyone with the opportunity to receive a quality education, regardless of their ZIP Code, is vital to ensure our youth is prepared for what comes after school.”

The budget includes investments for Smart Start IL, a $250 million investment to fund the childcare workforce, expand the Early Intervention Program and Home Visiting Programs, plus funding to begin the overhaul of the childcare payment management system.

Additionally, the budget includes $100 million in additional MAP grant funding, which ensures everyone at or below the median income can go to community college for free and an increase for public universities and community colleges – the highest increases in more than two decades.

Ventura, however, expressed concerns over the lack of new revenue streams that would relieve the tax burden for working families, and ask the wealthy to pay their fair share. Ventura sponsored SB 2351, a proposal that would generate additional revenue on financial transactions typically only available to the wealthy.

“While the budget is a positive step forward for many working class families, we also need to take a serious look at how we prioritize what we allocate and how we allocate it,” said Ventura. “We can’t tout smart spending decisions when we are failing to fully fund our schools, we don’t meet the actuarial calculations on pensions, and we aren’t properly funding our local governments. I have been steadfast in my leadership to find new revenue streams to fund the child tax credit and will continue to fight for those in my district.”

“The budget passed today takes positive steps toward increasing workforce development, job creation and accessibility to higher education,” said Ventura. “I remain committed to making Illinois the most inclusive and prosperous state in the nation.”

Ventura stands firm in her belief that the state must add additional ways to increase revenue, which would in turn provide financial assistance to all sectors – from increasing pay for direct support professionals and in-home providers to expanding funds for planting trees.

While Ventura was discouraged that a number of her legislative priorities did not make it into the final budget – despite her tireless efforts and willingness to fight for a seat at the table – a number of local projects she led efforts to fund received a total of $250,000 respectfully:

  • Stepping Stones (Substance Abuse Treatment)
  • Will County Habitat for Humanities (Housing)
  • Will Grundy Medical Clinic (Medical services, and housing for homeless)
  • Holsten Human Capital Development (Food Pantry and Housing)
  • Spanish Community Center (Food pantry and immigrant services)

The budget passed the Senate Thursday.



SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Rachel Ventura passed a new measure that would expedite the process from 15 days to three days for nonviolent offenders entering a work release facility.

“We have had great conversations with the Department of Corrections and the Association of Sheriffs on this measure to ensure that these nonviolent incarcerated individuals will not be penalized by waiting behind bars for an unnecessarily long time period,” said Ventura (D-Joliet).

Within House Bill 3779, DOC must provide notice "as soon as reasonably practicable" to incarcerated individuals near the end of their sentence who are eligible for home confinement or other confinement outside a DOC facility.

Under this measure, the Department needs to provide electronic notification concerning the committed person to the state's attorney and sheriff of the county in which the work release facility is located within three days of a committed person being placed in the facility. This information includes, but isn't limited to: the offender's name, age, physical description, photograph, offense, and sentence for which they are serving time in the Department of Corrections.

“About 95% of incarcerated individuals are eventually released to Illinois communities. It’s in everyone’s best interest to make their transition successful. Work release programs like those promoted by Sen. Ventura and Rep. Ammons’ HB3779 have a proven track record of making those transitions successful. Participants in those programs are 50% less likely to recidivate than those who do not. HB3779 is an important step toward making Illinois the Second Chance State,” said Marc McCombs, the Public Analyst for Safer Foundation.

House Bill 3779 passed through the Senate on Wednesday and now heads to Governor.


Joliet Library

JOLIET– Children and families will soon be able to take advantage of more books and other materials at the Joliet Public Library following a grant of $221,784 to expand their collection, State Senator Rachel Ventura announced Tuesday.

"Libraries offer communities a multitude of opportunities – from leisurely reading materials to resources to learn and grow," said Ventura (D-Joliet). "I myself enjoy frequenting the library with my daughters and enjoy taking the classes they offer. This grant continues to make the library a safe, well-equipped place for everyone."

These grants, awarded once every fiscal year, will help provide library services to nearly 12 million patrons statewide and approximately 150,000 Joliet residents. The Joliet Public library intends to use this funding to increase their collection of local-history and Spanish-language materials and for the purchase of e-books.

The Public Library Per Capita Grants are authorized under Illinois library law for public libraries. Each year it allocates money for books and learning materials, staff, equipment, digital access and new technology.

"We are so thankful to the Illinois General Assembly and the Illinois Secretary of State for this supplement to our budget," said Executive Director of the Joliet Public Library Megan Millen. "This annual grant helps the Joliet Public Library continue to provide materials and fantastic customer service to our community."

“Our public libraries play a vital role and serve as the cornerstones of Illinois communities,” Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias said. “I’m thrilled to be able to support libraries statewide, including the Joliet Public Library in their ongoing efforts to best serve the community.”

More information about the Public Library Per Capita grant program can be found here.

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Office Info

District Office:
221 Springfield Ave., Unit 3
Joliet, IL 60435
(331) 290-0443

Springfield Office:
119B Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-8800