Since the Illinois Criminal Code was last codified by the General Assembly more than 50 years ago, thousands of well-intentioned changes have riddled the Criminal Code with redundancies, inconsistencies and confusing language. A Code that once made clear distinctions between right and wrong and concisely explained the penalties for each transgression now confounds even experienced lawyers and judges.

In 2005, the Criminal Law Edit Alignment and Reform (CLEAR) Initiative and Commission was established.  The CLEAR Commission includes respected policy makers and practitioners representing all of the diverse perspectives of the criminal justice system, as well as the geographic, racial and economic composition of the state. Co-chaired by former Governor James R. Thompson and former Illinois Appellate Court Justice Gino L. DiVito, the Commission includes members appointed by the four legislative leaders, as well as prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges, law enforcement representatives, the Attorney General and representatives of the Governor.  Peter Baroni is the Director of the CLEAR Commission.

The CLEAR Initiative and its Commission have been working in an intensive process to review and reform the Illinois Criminal Code and Code of Corrections to make them more readable, understandable, consistent and just. The Commission completed its reform recommendations and over the last few years, Mr. Baroni has ushered through 12 bills (now public acts) that encompass the comprehensive overhaul of the Illinois Criminal and Sentencing Codes.  The final bills was signed into law in August 2012.  The new Illinois Criminal Code of 2012 (as it is now called) is less complex, easier to apply and includes the criminal law regime enacted by legislatures over the last five decades without the archaic, contradictory and unconstitutional provisions.  The following is a summary of all the new public acts, each act listed by number and effective date and link to the CLEAR website.