House Bill 1399 was sent to Governor Pritzker for approval earlier this summer and is awaiting his signature. State Representative Tony McCombie was a sponsor of the initiative, which aims to protect correctional officers and other female employees in the Cook County jail from being sexually harassed by detainees.
The bill specifically seeks to protect those employees and promote greater workplace safety by amending the criminal code for a person who commits the offense of lewd sexual display. It provides that lewd sexual display in a penal institution is a Class A misdemeanor, and a person convicted of a third or subsequent violation is guilty of a Class 4 felony.
“This bill has the clear support of lawmakers and is an effort to help make employees working in the department of corrections, especially female employees, feel safe, respected, and able to do their jobs,” said McCombie.
The legislation passed unanimously out of the Illinois House and Senate this spring and also was backed by law enforcement including the Illinois FOP, the Sheriffs Association, and the Will County Sheriff’s Office.