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Illinois Eases Restrictions on Prisoners Released Under Supervision

On July 28, 2023, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) signed a new law that eases restrictions on released prisoners still under state supervision. SB 423, which took effect in January 2024, modifies requirements to complete the final stages of a sentence, such as parole and mandatory supervised release.

Traditionally, these conditions have included mandatory drug testing and the need for permission to leave the state. But under the new law, individuals on parole or supervised release will no longer be required to take a drug test absent reasonable suspicion of illegal drug use. The law also allows supervised individuals to make regular check-ins with state officials by phone or other electronic means rather than in-person—a change aimed at eliminating barriers to childcare and employment.

In addition, the state Prisoner Review Board is now mandated to reduce a term of supervisory release by 90 days when the released prisoner attains an associate’s degree or vocational technical certification; the law spells out other qualifying educational standards that also can be met. Previously, this reduction in supervised release term was granted only to those who earned high school diplomas or equivalent qualifications.

One other notable change, eliminating cash bail, was upheld by the Illinois Supreme Court on July 18, 2023, when justices overturned a Kankakee County judge’s December 2022 finding that the provision ran afoul of the state constitution. See: Rowe v. Raoul, 2023 IL 129248. [See also:].

At a signing ceremony in Chicago, Pritzker said the state’s current supervision system often leads to reincarceration for noncriminal, technical violations, causing massive disruption in the lives of released prisoners struggling to re-enter society and also driving up the state’s incarceration costs—all without promoting genuine rehabilitation or improving public safety. The legislation received bipartisan support, easily passing in both chambers of the Democratic-controlled General Assembly.   


Source: Chicago Tribune

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Related legal case

Rowe v. Raoul