Senate Bill 3233 Fact Sheet | Plain Text Version

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Senate Bill 3233: Earned Discretionary Release

Illinois prisons hold over 5,000 people serving life and de-facto life sentences. Legislation was passed in 1978 eliminating parole, leaving the state with no mechanism to review those incarcerated for release. Nearly every other state has a procedure for reviewing and releasing people with long-term sentences who are ready to rejoin society. Illinois does not. If nothing changes, Illinois taxpayers will be billed for geriatric prisons while thousands of Illinoisans will be required to grow old and die behind bars, with no periodic review of whether their continued incarceration is necessary for public safety.

Sponsored by State Senators Celina Villanueva (D) and Robert Peters (D), SB3233 shifts the focus of the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) from warehousing to rehabilitating people by giving every incarcerated Illinoisan the right to regular review by the Prisoner Review Board. The bill establishes that a person serving a term of imprisonment is eligible for review by the Prisoner Review Board when they have served the lesser of: at least 20 years; 25% of their sentence; or the minimum term of imprisonment for the most serious offense for which the person was convicted.

In addition, SB3233:

  • Provides incarcerated Illinoisans incentive to improve their lives and a path to productive return to society.
  • Takes into account the drastic drop in recidivism rates that occurs as people age.
  • Will save the state millions by releasing people who are rehabilitated before they become old and infirm
  • Allows individuals who have aged out of crime and pose little risk to public safety an opportunity to return to productive lives.

Experts believe that the numerous recent exonerations represent only the tip of the iceberg of people who have been wrongfully convicted.By ensuring periodic reviews for release for anyone incarcerated for over 20 years, SB 3233 serves as a safety valve for those who have been wrongly convicted, but lack the resources to prove their innocence, as well as others with extreme sentences who are ready to return home.

SB3233 has been endorsed by over 4,300 individuals and more than 40 organizations including the Chicago Community Bond Fund and Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.

List of Endorsing Organizations:

360

57th St. Meeting of Friends

babes only

Black and Pink Chicago

BPI Chicago

Campaign Nonviolence Depaul

Chicago 400 Alliance

Chicago Books to Women in Prison

Chicago Community Bond Fund (CCBF)

Chicago Torture Justice Center (CTJC)

Chicago Votes

Compound Yellow

Contextos

Engage Miami

Faith In Place Action Fund

FirstFollowers

Flood’s Hall

Freedom To Learn Illinois

Good Kids Mad City

Grassroots Collaborative

Herbal Legal

Herbal Notes

Illinois Coalition for Higher Education in Prison (IL-CHEP)

Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICCIRR)

Indivisible Illinois

Jean and Jane 420

John Howard Association

Judicial Accountability PAC

Justice Works, University of Chicago Social Services Administration

LetUsBreathe

Liberation Library

Mothers Activating Movements for Abolition and Solidarity (MAMAS)

Media Justice

New Community Church (Bronzeville)

Organized Communities Against Deportation (OCAD)

Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation

Project Hardknocks

Restore Justice

Right2Vote Campaign & SawariMedia

Shiller Preyar Jarard and Samuels Law Firm

Shriver Center

Soapbox Productions and Organizing

Students Against Incarceration

Students for Justice in Palestine, DePaul University

Black Students Union, University of Illinois Chicago 

Uptown People’s Law Center

Unitarian Universalist Prison Ministry of Illinois

Read most recent draft of bill

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