SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) — Illinois lawmakers could pass a plan during the final weeks of session to increase transparency surrounding parole and mandatory supervised release.
Sen. Bill Cunningham (D-Chicago) said his bill could expand education and job training credits for incarcerated people to become eligible for mandatory supervised release sooner. The proposal would also update state law regarding drug testing prior to parole hearings, as drug tests would only be required if there is reasonable suspicion of illegal drug use.
“There are requirements that the Department of Corrections makes certain disclosures to participants so they know what their goals are and what they need to do to successfully complete their term under MSR,” Cunningham said Thursday.
Senate Bill 423 states that parole officers would be required to complete quarterly reports for the Department of Corrections. However, AFSCME leaders told Cunningham they are currently opposed to that idea.
“We have concerns about the timeline and just wanted to make sure that our folks, the parole agents we represent, have adequate time to do the work,” said Adrienne Alexander, the intergovernmental affairs director for AFSCME Council 31. “We’re not opposed to the concept of the bill and look forward to quickly working so we can get that floor amendment agreed to.”
Cunningham’s bill could also allow for virtual meetings between mandated supervised release participants and their parole officers. He noted that criminal justice reform groups and law enforcement are supporting the plan.
Senate Bill 423 passed unanimously out of the Senate Special Committee on Criminal Law & Public Safety. The legislation now heads to the Senate floor for further consideration.
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