SB3233: Earned Discretionary Release

Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois, represented in the General Assembly: 

Section 5. The Unified Code of Corrections is amended by changing Sections 3-3-3 and 3-5-1 and by adding Section 3-3-3.1 as follows: 

(730 ILCS 5/3-3-3) 

(from Ch. 38, par. 1003-3-3)Sec. 3-3-3. Eligibility for parole or release. 

(a) Except as otherwise provided in Section 3-3-3.1 and exceptExcept for those offenders who accept the fixed release date established by the Prisoner Review Board under Section 3-3-2.1, every person serving a term of imprisonment under the law in effect prior to the effective date of this amendatory Act of 1977 shall be eligible for parole when he or she has served: 

(1) the minimum term of an indeterminate sentence less time credit for good behavior, or 20 years less time credit for good behavior, whichever is less; or 

(2) 20 years of a life sentence less time credit for good behavior; or 

(3) 20 years or one-third of a determinate sentence, whichever is less, less time credit for good behavior. 

(b) Except as otherwise provided in Section 3-3-3.1, no Noperson sentenced under this amendatory Act of 1977 or who accepts a release date under Section 3-3-2.1 shall be eligible for parole. 

(c) Except as otherwise provided in Section 3-3-3.1 and exceptExcept for those sentenced to a term of natural life imprisonment, every person sentenced to imprisonment under this amendatory Act of 1977 or given a release date under Section 3-3-2.1 of this Act shall serve the full term of a determinate sentence less time credit for good behavior and shall then be released under the mandatory supervised release provisions of paragraph (d) of Section 5-8-1 of this Code. 

(d) 

(Blank).No person serving a term of natural life imprisonment may be paroled or released except through executive clemency. 

(e) Every person committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice under the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 and confined in the State correctional institutions or facilities if such juvenile has not been tried as an adult shall be eligible for aftercare release under Section 3-2.5-85 of this Code. However, if a juvenile has been tried as an adult he or she shall only be eligible for parole or mandatory supervised release as an adult under this Section. 

(Source: P.A. 98-558, eff. 1-1-14; 99-628, eff. 1-1-17.) 

(730 ILCS 5/3-3-3.1 new)Sec. 3-3-3.1. Earned Discretionary Release; parole hearings; sentences of 20 years or longer; life imprisonment; early release. 

(a) Notwithstanding to the contrary any provision of this Code, Article 122 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963, Article X of the Code of Civil Procedure, or Section 2-1401 of the Code of Civil Procedure, a person serving a term of imprisonment in a Department of Corrections institution or facility is eligible for Earned Discretionary Release and a parole hearings under this Article if he or she has served the greater lesser of: 

(1) a term of imprisonment of at least 20 years; 

(2) 25% of his or her sentence; or 

(3) the minimum term of imprisonment for the most serious offense for which the person was convicted.A person serving a term of natural life imprisonment is eligible for Earned Discretionary Release and a parole hearings under this Article after serving a term of imprisonment of at least 20 years. A person seeking early release under this Section may petition the Prisoner Review Board in the same manner as a person eligible for parole under Section 3-3-2.1 of this Code and the parole hearing(s) shall be conducted as otherwise provided in this Article and the Open Parole Hearings Act unless otherwise provided in this Section. 

(b) Veterans, as defined in Section 10 of the Veterans and Servicemembers Court Treatment Act, who have been honorably discharged are eligible for additional sentence credit as determined by the Prisoner Review Board. 

(c) A riskneeds assessment instrument shall be used to evaluate every committed person described in this Section at the time of his or her admittance to an institution or facility of the Department for the offense or offenses that resulted in the person’s sentence in order to determine the risk factors and identify goals or behavior that the committed person needs to achieve or change in order to be released. 

(d) Each committed person eligible for Earned Discretionary Release under this Section on the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 101st General Assembly shall receive a riskneeds assessment within one year after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 101st General Assembly. 

(e) Victims have the right to be present and involved in the initial outlining of the goals for a committed person described in this Section. Victims may have input into the goals that must be achieved by a committed person before the committed person may be released. The risk assessment instrument shall be the primary factor for determining what goals a committed person must accomplish before being released. Each interested party may have meaningful input before the determination of the petitioner’s final goals. 

(f) On the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 101st General Assembly, prior evidence of the petitioner’s participation in rehabilitative programs shall be added to the petitioner’s master record file under Section 3-5-1 and shall be considered at the petitioner’s parole hearing(s)

(g) The source code of any riskneeds assessment instrument under subsection (d) shall be made available to a panel composed of representatives from the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority and the Illinois Sentencing Policy Advisory Council for periodic review for racial, religious, ethnic, gender, sexual orientation, and socio-economic biases. 

(h) The Department has a duty to provide rehabilitative programming for each committed person described in this Section. 

(i) A committed person described in this Section may not be barred from rehabilitative programming because his or her anticipated release is not in the near future. 

(j) A committed person described in this Section during any period of his or her imprisonment in a Department institution or facility has the right to engage in rehabilitative programming after meeting with a counselor and developing an individualized plan of rehabilitation which shall be made available to the Prisoner Review Board prior to the parole hearing(s)

(k) On the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 101st General Assembly, each correctional facility shall comprehensively evaluate how well it facilitates relationships between committed persons in its custody and their family members. This includes, but is not limited to: visiting hours and procedures, phone call protocol and costs, letter writing, and other factors deemed relevant by the Director of Corrections. 

(l) Every committed person described in this Section shall have the right to legal representation at his or her parole hearing(s). If the committed person cannot afford legal counsel, free legal service representatives may be utilized. 

(m) Every committed person described in this Section may attend and testify at his or her parole hearing(s)

(n) Every committed person described in this Section, shall be provided full and complete access to his or her master record file at least 60 days prior to any parole hearing(s). The committed person has a right to challenge any false, misleading, or otherwise inaccurate information contained therein. The Department of Corrections shall establish an expedited process for committed persons to challenge such false, misleading, or otherwise inaccurate information so that it can be removed prior to any parole hearing(s)

(o) Nothing in this amendatory Act of the 101st General Assembly guarantees release. It only guarantees the opportunity of the committed person to present evidence at his or her parole hearing(s) to demonstrate his or her rehabilitation before the Prisoner Review Board and to seek Earned Discretionary Release. 

(730 ILCS 5/3-5-1) 

(from Ch. 38, par. 1003-5-1)Sec. 3-5-1. Master Record File. 

(a) The Department of Corrections and the Department of Juvenile Justice shall maintain a master record file on each person committed to it, which shall contain the following information: 

(1) all information from the committing court; 

(1.5) ethnic and racial background data collected in accordance with Section 4.5 of the Criminal Identification Act; 

(2) reception summary; 

(3) evaluation and assignment reports and recommendations; 

(4) reports as to program assignment and progress; 

(5) reports of disciplinary infractions and disposition, including tickets and Administrative Review Board action; 

(6) any parole or aftercare release plan; 

(7) any parole or aftercare release reports; 

(8) the date and circumstances of final discharge; 

(9) criminal history; 

(10) current and past gang affiliations and ranks; 

(11) information regarding associations and family relationships; 

(12) any grievances filed and responses to those grievances; and 

(13) other information that the respective Department determines is relevant to the secure confinement and rehabilitation of the committed person. 

(b) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (n) of Section 3-3-3.l, allAll files shall be confidential and access shall be limited to authorized personnel of the respective Department. Personnel of other 

correctional, welfare or law enforcement agencies may have access to files under rules and regulations of the respective Department. The respective Department shall keep a record of all outside personnel who have access to files, the files reviewed, any file material copied, and the purpose of access. If the respective Department or the Prisoner Review Board makes a determination under this Code which affects the length of the period of confinement or commitment, the committed person and his counsel shall be advised of factual information relied upon by the respective Department or Board to make the determination, provided that the Department or Board shall not be required to advise a person committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice any such information which in the opinion of the Department of Juvenile Justice or Board would be detrimental to his treatment or rehabilitation. 

(c) The master file shall be maintained at a place convenient to its use by personnel of the respective Department in charge of the person. When custody of a person is transferred from the Department to another department or agency, a summary of the file shall be forwarded to the receiving agency with such other information required by law or requested by the agency under rules and regulations of the respective Department. 

(d) The master file of a person no longer in the custody of the respective Department shall be placed on inactive status and its use shall be restricted subject to rules and regulations of the Department. 

(e) All public agencies may make available to the respective Department on request any factual data not otherwise privileged as a matter of law in their possession in respect to individuals committed to the respective Department. 

(Source: P.A. 97-696, eff. 6-22-12; 98-528, eff. 1-1-15; 98-558, eff. 1-1-14; 98-756, eff. 7-16-14.) 

Section 97. Severability. The provisions of this Act are severable under Section 1.31 of the Statute on Statutes. 

Proposal For Fair Parole

Bill to Establish a Fair and Inclusive Parole System in the State of Illinois
Written by the Stateville Debate Team

1)  No person shall be denied the right to parole consideration. This includes all current and future incarcerated people.
a) Life without parole shall be excised from the possible sentences that can be given in Illinois.
b)  Those currently serving life sentences who have served 11 years will be immediately seen by the paroling authority following the passing of this bill.

2) Every incarcerated person must serve either 25% of their sentence or the minimum sentence of the single most serious offense convicted of, before becoming eligible for parole – whichever comes first.  Every incarcerated person automatically becomes eligible for parole after serving 11 years of their sentence.
a) Those sentenced as the principal offender under the multiple murder statute will become eligible after 20 years.

3) Every class of felony will be eligible for good sentence credits.
a) There will be extra time credit programs available for any person who has served active duty in the US Military.

4) A risk assessment instrument will be used to evaluate every person at their point of entry into the system in order to determine their risk factors and identify clearly those things which they need to change or accomplish in order to be released.
a) All people who are incarcerated at the time of this bill passing shall receive a risk assessment within the next 6 months.
b) At the passing of this bill, prior evidence of rehabilitative pursuits and program participation will be added to master files and considered at all parole hearings.

5) Any risk assessment instrument shall open its source code to a panel composed of representatives from ICJIA and SPAC for periodic review for racial bias, etc.

6)  Within 60 days leading up to a person’s parole hearing, they will be again assessed with the same instrument.  If they have surpassed the outlined goals from their initial assessment, they will be released at their hearing.  If they have not, then the paroling authority will consider releasing them on parole from a clinical perspective.

7) For people who are not released onto parole, they will go back up for parole hearings every year until they have reached their maximum sentence as set by statute, plea bargain, or their sentencing judge.

8)   Victims have the right to be present and involved in the initial outlining of the goals for an incarcerated person.  They will have input into what must be achieved by an incarcerated person before they can be released. Though the bulk of the weight will be put on the risk assessment instrument for determining what an offender must accomplish before being released, all interested parties will have meaningful input before determining the final goals.

9) Once a person’s goals are set, they cannot be changed.  They will be given to the incarcerated person in written form as soon as they are set.  This is only superseded in the event that a demonstrable new problem – defined as any guilty finding in a major disciplinary infraction or new case – arises with an individual during their incarceration.  In that case, the paroling authority has the discretion to go back and add goals that must be achieved before release. Any changes or additions must be given to the incarcerated person in writing.

10)  Those who are denied parole have the right to know why.  When a person is denied parole, they will receive a written explanation of the reason for denial.  This will outline exactly which of an individual’s goals for release have been satisfactorily met and which have yet to be attained.  It will include suggestions for how the unmet goals can be accomplished.
a) Every incarcerated person shall have full rights to challenge their denial of parole via an appeal. Any individual who submits an appeal will be seen by the entirety of the paroling authority within the next 90 days.
b)   Any person who is denied upon appeal has the right to seek relief in the circuit court.

11)  The IDOC has a duty to provide programs that are demanded for a person to be released.  All people must have a legitimate opportunity to access the resources and programming that they need in order to meet their release goals.
a)   Additionally, no person will be barred from programming because their anticipated release is not in the near future.  People at any point in their sentence – whether they have reached their minimum sentence or have just been incarcerated – will have the right to engage in programming.

12)   A panel of 5 from the paroling authority will hear each case. This panel of 5 will hold two different types of parole hearings.  The first is for the eligible person who has passed the actuarial examination.  In these cases, the paroling authority will simply set the terms of release.  In the cases where the actuarial system has determined the person unfit for release, they will evaluate the eligible person from a clinical perspective and determine whether the person is ready to re-enter society.. If the majority of the panel of 5 agrees that an individual’s conditions are met, they will set the terms of release and parole the eligible person.
If any of a person’s goals are not met in the eyes of at least 3 of the 5 panel members, the paroling authority will outline explicitly in writing which goals were not met with a recommendation for how they can be met.  They will also set the date for the next parole hearing at that time.  The next date will not be set for more than 14 months in the future.

a) Juveniles and young adults (ages 18-24) will be given special consideration for parole in recognition of their diminished culpability.
b)  People convicted under accountability theory will be given special consideration for parole in recognition of their diminished culpability.
c) Any other mitigating factor that is present in a person or their case that denotes diminished culpability (i.e. mental illness and other such things that are currently recognized in law) will be given special consideration for parole in recognition of their diminished culpability.

13)  Parole decisions will be made with the recognition that justice has been served.  Any person who has become eligible for parole has served the time necessary to satisfy the demands of justice.  The only concern that the paroling panel is evaluating is the risk of recidivism.  Paroling decisions will be made blindly with regard to the nature of the original crime.
a)  All exceptions in current law will be eliminated.  Specifically, the following will be excluded from this bill and will not constitute legitimate reasons for a person to be denied parole:
(i) there is a substantial risk that the eligible person will not conform to reasonable
conditions of parole or aftercare release; or
(ii) the eligible person’s release at that time would deprecate the seriousness of his or
Her offense or promote disrespect for the law; or
(iii) the eligible person’s release would have a substantially adverse effect on
institutional discipline.

14)  In acknowledgement of the unequivocal importance of allowing incarcerated people a meaningful chance to maintain connections with loved ones during their incarceration, at the passing of this bill, each correctional facility will comprehensively evaluate how well they facilitate relationships between the people in their custody and their loved ones.  Where problems are identified, they will be addressed and changed.  This is of the utmost importance.  One’s ability to conform to reasonable conditions of parole is in large part determined by the support they have on the outside.  This will be recognized by correctional facilities and they will make necessary changes to visiting hours and procedures, phone call protocol and costs, letter writing, etc. in light of this recognition.

15)  Any person who is over the age of 50 or who is significantly physically or mentally disabled will be considered for release regardless of any other factors – including whether their minimum sentence has been met.

16)  Every incarcerated person shall have the right to legal representation at their parole hearings. If they cannot afford legal counsel, representation will be provided to them.

17)  Every incarcerated person shall hold the right to attend and testify at their parole hearings.

18)  Every incarcerated person shall have a right to review their master file and challenge any inaccurate information contained therein.

19)   No person shall be penalized during the parole process for claiming innocence.  This means that people who claim innocence shall, under no circumstance, have the mandate of “demonstrating remorse” as a requirement for parole.

20)  No application will be necessary for someone to access parole.  Once their parole eligibility has been reached, they will automatically be given a parole hearing date as well as legal representation for their hearing.

21)  If any part of this bill is found unconstitutional, the rest shall survive.

 


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