The Illinois House approved a bill this week that would ban police from lying to youth during interrogations.
The legislation makes Illinois the first state to ban police from giving youth suspects false information during questioning, a practice that has been linked to higher rates of wrongful convictions and false confessions, ABC News reports.
Senate Bill 2122, originally sponsored by state Senator Robert Peters and state Representative Justin Slaughter, was approved with near-unanimous votes in both houses and is expected to be signed into law by the governor in the coming weeks.
“I’ll never be accused of being soft on crime, but I’m more interested in seeking the truth than a conviction,” House Minority Leader Jim Durkin said. “I believe in fair play. We should never tolerate, under any circumstance, the use of deception to seek a statement or an admission by any defendant, let alone a juvenile.”
Lawmakers hope the bill helps combat the state’s history of false confessions. According to the Associated Press, Illinois has in recent years uncovered at least 100 wrongful convictions predicated on false confessions, 31 of them involving people under 18 years of age.
“The history of false confessions in Illinois can never be erased, but this legislation is a critical step to ensuring that history is never repeated,” Office of Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said in a press release. “I hope this is a start to rebuilding confidence and trust in a system that has done harm to so many people for far too long.”