Illinois Supreme Court Orders State DOC to Fund Required Treatment and Housing for Sex Offender’s Conditional Release
by David M. Reutter
On September 22, 2022, the Supreme Court of Illinois agreed with a former state prisoner that when the state sets conditions for release that he can’t afford, it is obliged to help him meet them as long as it retains him under its custody. In the decision, the Court found it has authority under the state’s Sexually Dangerous Persons Act “to order the Director [of Corrections] to contribute financial assistance to cover the treatment costs and living expenses of a sexually dangerous person on conditional release.”
Richard Kastman was charged in 1993 with misdemeanor offenses based on acts of public indecency involving children and disorderly conduct. Rather than seek criminal sanctions, the prosecution initiated a civil commitment proceeding under the Act. The evidence showed Kastman suffered from pedophilia, antisocial personality disorder, exhibitionism, and alcohol dependency. He was found to be a sexually dangerous person and was civilly committed, placed under the guardianship of the director of the state Department of Corrections (DOC), who placed Kastman at Big Muddy River Correctional Center.
Kastman filed several applications over the years seeking his release or review of his treatment. After two evaluators supported his 2013 application and the state did not oppose it, the parties agreed to an order of conditional release that was issued on January 11, 2016.
Nearly five years later, though, Kastman was still locked up. Why? As he stated in his December 2020 motion to modify his order, he was unemployed, disabled, and could not afford the $300 monthly treatment costs and the $1,800 monthly rent for housing that complied with the Act. Therefore he asked the court to require the DOC Director, as his guardian, to provide financial assistance to cover certain of his living expenses and mandated treatment costs.
The Circuit Court of Lake County granted the motion and ordered the Director to contribute $2,412 monthly toward Kastman’s expenses, including rent, sex offender treatment, utilities, and medical copayments. The Director appealed, and the appellate court affirmed. The Illinois Supreme Court then granted Kastman leave to appeal.
The Court agreed that the Act does not require the Director to contribute any economic support to sexually dangerous persons on conditional release. But that was not the issue, the Court said. Instead, the issue was whether the Act affords the circuit court authority to order the Director to provide such assistance.
In affirming the lower court rulings, the high court noted that despite conditional release, Kastman remained committed to the Director’s custody and under his guardianship. Therefore the Court concluded that “the Director’s statutory duties as guardian do not terminate upon the entry of a conditional release order.” Until Kastman “has recovered and is released,” he remains under the care of the Director, who has a duty to ensure that treatment is provided. This may require the Director to financially support the offender. So the judgments of the circuit court and appellate court were affirmed.
On his appeal, Kastman was represented by attorney John W. Radosevich, of the Law Offices of David R. Del Re, P.C., in Waukegan. See: People v. Kastman, 2022 IL 127681.
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