- Published: 15 March 2017
The Illinois Department of Corrections estimates that a measure targeting repeat gun offenders cosponsored by Senator Anthony Munoz (D-Chicago 1st) and Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) could save the department $62 million over 10 years.
“Many opponents of this legislation speculated that it would drive up costs and increase the prison population due to the recommendation of tougher penalties for repeat gun offenders,” Raoul said. “This estimate from the Department of Corrections shows that, because the recommended increase in sentencing ranges is coupled with other criminal justice reforms, it could actually decrease the population and save money.”
In addition to saving millions of dollars, the Department of Corrections said the reforms could result in a decrease of 1,471 incarcerated offenders over 10 years.
The legislation increases sentencing guidelines for repeat gun offenders while enacting a series of criminal justice reforms aimed at lowering the prison population and addressing the disproportionate sentencing of nonviolent offenders.
Reforms in the legislation include:
- Reduces certain drug possession offenses from Class 1 to Class 2 and 3 felonies based on amount.
- Increases access to educational, vocational and re-entry programming for individuals incarcerated for truth-in-sentencing offenses, allowing eligible individuals to reduce their sentence up to 15 percent.
- Reduces the protected area for drug crimes from 1,000 to 500 feet, removes public housing as a protected area and requires prosecutors to prove a connection between the crime and the protected area before a felony can be enhanced.
- Expands the eligibility for the Offender Initiative Program, Second Chance Probation and all other drug probation programs
- Reduces the period of mandatory supervised release for certain offenses and allows the Prisoner Review Board to terminate a person’s mandatory supervised release if that person is determined to be low-risk.
SB 1722 advanced out of the Senate Criminal Law committee with a 6-5-0 vote last week and will move to the Senate for consideration.