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Illinois criminal defense attorneyCriminal charges for kidnapping your own child might seem strange, but it is a reality that many loving, well-meaning parents have faced. In fact, Health Research Funding (HRF) indicates that nearly 204,000 children have been abducted by a family member; that family member is often a parent or legal guardian. Learn more about parental kidnapping charges in Illinois, including what you can do to protect yourself when facing such accusations.

What is Parental Kidnapping?

Parental kidnapping sounds like a heinous crime – like a parent abducted their child with malicious intent. This is not always the case. In fact, some cases involve parents who have exceeded their parenting time, either accidentally or for reasons beyond their control. Others have attempted to protect their child from an abusive partner. Some may take the child because they fear they are about to lose custody or visitation with their child in a contentious divorce. All these reasons are understandable, but it does not make the action any less illegal.

In a given year, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of pieces of legislation which make their way through the state government and end up being signed into law. Many bills set a future date on which they are set to take effect and in a large number of cases, a new year provides a convenient starting date for new laws. This year, more than 200 new or amended laws became effective on January 1, covering a wide range of issues from traffic and vehicle concerns to children and family interests to the criminal code and law enforcement, including record expungement.

While many of the new laws seem rather bureaucratic, there are several which may be of interest to the public at large.

Ban on Ticket Quotas (PA 98-0650)

It is not uncommon for a driver who has received what he or she perceives to be a questionable traffic ticket to assume the issuing officer was just trying to make his numbers. However, beginning in 2015, it is now illegal for a police department to mandate ticket minimums for its officers. Additionally, the number of citations issued by a police officer may no longer be used a job performance measure.

A new report, published by the National Research Council, has revealed some shocking statistics about the increase in how many prisoners there are in the U.S. Yet despite the dramatic increases, the report also classifies any effect this country’s policies on crime have had as highly uncertain.

According to the report, between the years 1973 to 2009, the number of inmates in this country increased from 200,000 to 2.2 million. Currently, the U.S. has almost 25 percent of the number of prisoners being held worldwide. Yet the U.S. only has five percent of the world’s population.

Although the numbers show that the number of people incarcerated has risen, they also reveal the lack of any consistent pattern in crime rates. In the 35 year time frame the researchers studied, violent crime rates increased and fell several times. In their report, the study’s authors offered this explanation:

The best single proximate explanation of the rise in incarceration is not rising crime rates, but the policy choices made by legislators to greatly increase the use of imprisonment as a response to crime. Since the 1970s, these policies have come to include the war on drugs, mandatory minimums for drug crimes and violent offenses, three-strikes laws and 'truth-in-sentencing' mandates that require inmates to serve at least 85 percent of their sentences.