At the end of July, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a new law modifying the conditions required to complete the final steps of a sentence, also known as parole and mandatory supervised release, which have historically ranged from mandatory drug testing to needing to ask permission before leaving the state.
One of the most controversial of these changes, the elimination of cash bail, was upheld by the Illinois Supreme Court this summer.
This new law goes into effect in January and stipulates that people on parole or mandatory supervised release will no longer be required to take a drug test as part of their conditions for release unless reasonable suspicion of illegal drug use can be documented.
Additionally, the Illinois Prisoner Review Board must now reduce a person’s supervisory release term by 90 days if the individual attains an associate degree or vocational technical certification or earns other educational standards. Previously, a 90-day reduction was only granted to people who earned a high school diploma or passed high school equivalency testing.
The new law also allows people under supervision to meet with state officials for their regular check-ins by phone or other electronic communication rather than in person, which is intended to remove obstacles to childcare and employment.
This new law is part of a larger pattern of reforms championed by Pritzker and his allies in the Illinois General Assembly that are meant to combat mass incarceration and improve the fairness of the justice system.
For more information on what this upcoming legislation could mean for the Illinois criminal system, contact the qualified attorneys at Rock, Fusco & Connelly.