Illinois bill would increase penalties toward those who harm social workers

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FILE – In this Feb. 22, 2021, file photo, Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks at Chicago State University in Chicago. Not everyone’s happy with Gov. Pritzker’s budget proposal. But the “pain,” the deep cuts and the across-the-board tax increases which the Democrat predicted would follow last fall’s amendment to generate more income tax revenue, which voters defeated, hasn’t materialized. (Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Chicago Sun-Times via AP, File)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WTVO) — After a 36-year-old worker for the Department of Children and Human Services was stabbed to death during a house call on Tuesday, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker today announced support for new legislation which would increase criminal penalties against those who harm DCFS employees.

Deirdre Silas was killed during a home visit in Thayer, Illinois on Tuesday afternoon. Police have arrested 32-year-old Benjamin Reed in connection with her killing.

“Our DCFS workers dedicate their careers to our most vulnerable children, living in pursuit of the belief that every child should have a safe place to call home,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “These professionals do everything in their power to protect children, so it’s time for the legal system to treat them like the first responders they are. I’m working with the General Assembly to enhance the penalties for adults who harm DCFS workers to align with the protections for other first responders.”

Under the proposed legislation, SB 3070, DCFS employees would be granted the same protections as police, firemen, private security employees, correctional officers, and community policing volunteers. The legislation allows for a person who causes great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement to a DCFS employee to be charged with a more serious Class 1 felony as opposed to a Class 3.

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