An Overview of the Early Release Program in Illinois

javier-villaraco-235574-copy-300x225Recently, it has been announced that there is a bill that will allow convicts in Illinois to be released at the 85% point of their sentence. The IDOC Releases 2017 has been long discussed by Congress and in legal circles. Some people will have less time in prison as a result of this change. Others might find that there are much stricter rules for getting released. The change follows a recommendation by the Commission on Criminal Sentencing. The new program is meant to reduce offending over the long term.

Just like any other laws, the people who are already in prison might be affected. Those who are going to commit crimes in the future will definitely be affected. These changes work together with all the other reforms that the government has been putting in place. An example is the gun law reviews, which affected those that are repeat offenders for gun crimes.

Things to Watch Out for if You are Convicted

There are a number of important rules that you will need to think about if you are affected by this policy initiative:

  • The law will mainly apply to those who are required to serve between 75% and 100% of their full sentence under the current rules. For example, you could be serving 85% of your sentence as required by the law.
  • You may be allowed to earn some programming credit as well as supplemental sentence credit. This only applies as long as you have been well-behaved during your time in prison. This credit can be applied to your current minimum sentence so that it can be further reduced.
  • The programming credit is written in such a way as to give different minimum terms for different people. This depends on what their original sentence was. Here are some examples:
  • If you were required to serve the full sentence in the original court, they can reduce it to 90%.
  • If you were required to serve a minimum of 85% of the sentence, they can reduce it to at least 75%.
  • If you were required to serve at least 75% of your original sentence, they can reduce it to at least 60%

When and How Changes Happen

The rules, when they are published, will explain when the dates are counted and when you begin to qualify. Check with your lawyers to ensure that you have the right date and procedures when making any applications. They will give you advice on how best you can qualify. At the moment, there are signs that the credit will start to count on the date that the law has specified. If you are in the middle of the program, they will allow you to earn credit when it is completed. This is like an additional discount off your original sentence and the minimum terms you were asked to serve.

It is important to remember that you will not be able to earn credit for any programs that you did before the date that was set by the new rules. One of the things that have been worrying inmates is the fact that they will not get credit for programs that they have already done.

Get Legal Advice Today

The aim of the law is to punish repeat offenders much more than those who have committed a particular crime for the first time. If you are already serving more than half of your sentence, it is a sign that you committed a serious crime or are a repeat offender. That means that this is a last chance solution for those who are released. You can contact David Freidberg Attorney at Law at telephone number 312-560-7100 for more information about the new rules.

(image courtesy of Javier Villaraco)