|July 10, 2005|
GOVERNOR SIGNS LAW REQUIRING LIFETIME SUPERVISION
Governor signs additional laws tightening restrictions and registration,
SPRINGFIELD – To help safeguard Illinois communities from sex offenders, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich signed several important pieces of legislation today that will strengthen the state’s efforts to keep close tabs on sex offenders following their release from prison. The laws signed today will better protect children and the public by tightening restrictions and supervision of sex offenders. The cornerstone of the package, House Bill 2386, creates a lifetime supervision program for the most serious sex offenders.
“There’s nothing more vile than sex offenders. We have to do everything in our power to keep them away from our children and our communities. That’s why I’m signing tough new laws that protect us from sex offenders, including lifetime supervision for sex offenders and making sure that sex offenders are kept away from children and the elderly. I want to commend the sponsors of all of these bills, and I want to especially commend Attorney General Lisa Madigan for her efforts to pass legislation requiring lifetime supervision for sex offenders,” said Governor Blagojevich
“This package of bills is a truly significant step forward in the protection of women, children and communities from sex offenders,” Attorney General Lisa Madigan said. “Whether it is requiring lifetime supervision for sexual predators who continue to pose a risk to communities or ensuring that sex offenders and other convicted felons be identified and properly managed in nursing homes, this series of bills breaks new ground in ensuring that families and communities are safer.”
Madigan continued, “Additionally, whether a sex offender is in the community or in a nursing home, protecting our families from sex offenders requires more supervision, more notification and more communication. This legislation provides for all of those.”
Madigan initiated several of the proposals in the package the Governor is signing, including a proposal for lifetime supervision for sex offenders, a proposal to protect residents of nursing homes from sex offenders and other convicted felons and a proposal that will better equip law enforcement to crack down on non-compliant sex offenders.
Sponsored by Rep. Careen M. Gordon ( D-Coal City) and Sen. Don Harmon ( D-Oak Park) and authored by Attorney General Madigan, House Bill 2386 creates the possibility of lifetime parole supervision for some of the highest-risk sex offendersconvicted of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, aggravated criminal sexual assault or criminal sexual assault, on or after July 1, 2005. Currently, all sex offenders released from prison serve a parole term of a maximum of five years under the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC), where they are closely supervised by a parole agent who has the authority to return them to prison for exhibiting high-risk behaviors. Under this new law, these three categories of offenders will be mandated from a minimum of three years to a maximum of lifetime of parole supervision as determined by the Prisoner Review Board.
The law also provides for the Prisoner Review Board to decide the conditions of parole, how long it will last and what action will be taken if the inmate violates the conditions. In cases of a parole violation, the inmate can serve up totwo years in prison, unless it’s a new crime. Parole will also prepare progress reports every 180 days after the offender’s release from incarceration regarding the offender’s adjustment and compliance with conditions of parole as well as participation and progress in sex offender treatment. The progress report will be submitted to the Prisoner Review Board, the chief of police and sheriff in the municipality and county where the offender resides and is registered. The law also states that supervising officers will receive specialized training in the supervision of sex offenders.
With the Governor’s signature, Illinois joins 13 other states in the nation that have some form of lifetime supervision laws.
“This bill sends a strong message to sex offenders living in Illinois. We will keep close tabs on you to make sure you do not threaten our children or our communities,” said Sen. Harmon .
“This bill will keep our communities safe from the high-risk offenders and I would like to thank the Attorney General for her work on this issue and the Governor for signing it into law,” said Rep. Gordon.
“The Illinois Department of Corrections supports this legislation that strengthens supervision of the state’s most dangerous sex offenders,” said IDOC Director Roger E. Walker Jr. “A major focus of the agency is strengthening our monitoring of sex offenders through the Governor’s Operation Spotlight Parole Reform Program. Through the Governor’s plan, the agency has been able to hire more parole agents than ever before, and launch the state’s most aggressive parole sex offender surveillance program in state history. Partnering with the Attorney General to develop a lifetime supervision program is the next logical step in those efforts, and communities will be safer because of it.”
HB 2386 is effective immediately.
Gov. Blagojevich also signed a number of other bills designed to toughen laws against sex offenders in an effort to protect Illinois communities and increase child safety.
“IDPH established these emergency rules because the agency sees this as a grave threat to the public health, safety and welfare of residents – namely registered sex offenders and other felons living in nursing homes, often without the knowledge of the nursing home, other residents, family members and visitors,” said Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director. “Because of the extreme nature of this potential threat, the Department believes that these rules must be adopted in a shorter time frame than is normally allowed.”
These new laws build on the Governor’s ongoing efforts to reform the management of parolees. This Fiscal Year, which began on July 1 st, the Governor launched one of the most aggressive sex offender management plans in state history through the expanded supervision of released sex offenders. The FY 2006 budget included funding to hire new parole agents and support staff to expand monitoring of sex offenders. With the additional funding and agents, the Illinois Department of Corrections will implement a GPS, or Global Positioning System, to use satellite technology to track movement of parolees. T he department is in the process of identifying 200 high-risk sex offenders to be outfitted with an ankle bracelet and a transmitter. The device will send a continuous signal to a parole agent's computer, allowing the officer to track a sex offender's movements. The GPS program, when joined with the Sex Offender Treatment and Monitoring Unit established last year, will provide for more parole agents throughout the state who will specifically monitor sex offenders.
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