The Justice, Equity, and Opportunity Initiative: An Introduction

The Justice, Equity, and Opportunity (JEO) Initiative was established by executive order in February 2019 and centralizes the state’s criminal justice reform efforts within the Lieutenant Governor’s office. JEO Initiative staff advise the Governor and the Lieutenant Governor on justice reform policy and legislation, oversee several criminal justice-related agencies, and convene advocates and stakeholders to advance equity-focused policies and practices.

The JEO Initiative is a first-of-its-kind effort in Illinois and serves as a model for the nation’s efforts to reform the justice system by:

  1. Convening and creating a collaborative environment, especially among stakeholders, state agencies and the organizations they work with.
  2. Improving communications across state agencies and ensuring a coordinated, holistic effort to transform the criminal justice system and implement those changes.
  3. Supporting research and pilot programs that will test groundbreaking efforts to reform the criminal justice system and provide data analysis to assess program efficacy and guide new efforts.
  4. Advising decision making to ensure the different branches of Illinois government work proactively to create a more fair and equitable criminal justice system.