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Sentencing
Determinacy Type1: Determinate
Year Adopted: 1978
Determinacy:
  • The Illinois General Assembly passed legislation in 1977 that changed the state's sentencing laws. It also established a new category of crime (Class X for the most violent crimes) as well as creating the death sentence and natural life sentence. Legislators also displaced the Illinois Parole and Pardon Board with the Illinois Prisoner Review Board. This eliminated a subjective determination by members of the Parole and Pardon Board as to when or why an inmate could be released from prison. 2    
  • Determinate sentencing became effective in February, 1978. Inmates convicted of crimes committed in 1978 or later were given determinate sentences -- specific amounts of time based on the seriousness of the crime.  Previously, an inmate received an indeterminate sentence -- or range of time -- and appeared before the Parole and Pardon Board which determined suitability for release to parole. Until passage of "truth in sentencing" laws in the 1990's, all inmates were to spend half their sentences incarcerated in jail or prison (less awards of good time as explained above). This allowed all involved -- the victim, the criminal, the courts, law enforcement agencies, corrections, and the general public -- to know when the inmate would be released from prison.3
Time Served Requirements:

PAROLE ELIGIBILITY:

  • Except when a term of natural life is imposed, every sentence includes a term in addition to the term of imprisonment.4
    • For those sentenced under the law in effect before February 1, 1978, that term is a parole term. 
    • For those sentenced on or after February 1, 1978, that term is a mandatory supervised release term.

 

730 ILCS 5/3‑3‑3, from Ch. 38, par. 1003‑3‑3. Eligibility for Parole or Release.5 

  • Except for those offenders who accept the fixed release date established by the Prisoner Review Board under Section 3‑3‑2.1, every person serving a term of imprisonment under the law in effect prior to the effective date of this amendatory Act of 1977 shall be eligible for parole when he has served: 
    • the minimum term of an indeterminate sentence less time credit for good behavior, or 20 years less time credit for good behavior, whichever is less; or 
    • 20 years of a life sentence less time credit for good behavior; or 
    • 20 years or one‑third of a determinate sentence, whichever is less, less time credit for good behavior. 
  • No person sentenced under this amendatory Act of 1977 or who accepts a release date under Section 3‑3‑2.1 shall be eligible for parole. 
  • Except for those sentenced to a term of natural life imprisonment, every person sentenced to imprisonment under this amendatory Act of 1977 or given a release date under Section 3‑3‑2.1 of this Act shall serve the full term of a determinate sentence less time credit for good behavior and shall then be released under the mandatory supervised release provisions of paragraph (d) of Section 5‑8‑1 of this Code. 
  • No person serving a term of natural life imprisonment may be paroled or released except through executive clemency. 
  • Every person committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice under Section 5‑10 of the Juvenile Court Act or Section 5‑750 of the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 or Section 5‑8‑6 of this Code and confined in the State correctional institutions or facilities if such juvenile has not been tried as an adult shall be eligible for parole without regard to the length of time the person has been confined or whether the person has served any minimum term imposed. However, if a juvenile has been tried as an adult he shall only be eligible for parole or mandatory supervised release as an adult under this Section.
Standard Good Time:

There are three types of good time, however not all inmates are eligible for each type.6 

  • Statutory Good Time refers to the percentage of time an inmate must spend incarcerated. Inmates serve 50%, 75%, 85%, or 100% of their sentence.  This is determined by statute and is based on the offense that was committed.  Inmates may lose some of that good time based on their behavior while in custody.

Earned Time:
Earned Good Conduct Credit refers to time earned by an inmate for participation in education, drug treatment or Illinois Correctional Industries programs. Again, not all inmates are eligible; inmates convicted of violent and Class X crimes are not eligible. Inmates earn one-half day off their sentence for each day of participation in such programs if they successfully complete the programs (Example: if an eligible inmate completes a drug treatment program that is 30-days in duration, he may be awarded 15-days off his sentence).7
Meritorious Good Time:

Meritorious Good Time (MGT) and Supplemental Meritorious Good Time (SMGT) refer to the discretionary time (up to 180 days) that the director may grant to an eligible inmate based on his or her behavior while incarcerated. The award of meritorious good time is not automatic; it is at the discretion of the director.  Inmates convicted of certain offenses are not eligible for this type of good time credit.8

  • The MGT/SMGT program was suspended in December of 2009 and terminated in January of 2010.  The program is currently under review.
Habitual Offender Law Types:
Three Strikes
Habitual Offender Laws:

730 ILCS 5/5‑4.5‑95. General Recidivism Provisions. Habitual Criminals.9 

  • Every person who has been twice convicted in any state or federal court of an offense that contains the same elements as an offense now (the date of the offense committed after the 2 prior convictions) classified in Illinois as a Class X felony, criminal sexual assault, aggravated kidnapping, or first degree murder, and who is thereafter convicted of a Class X felony, criminal sexual assault, or first degree murder, committed after the 2 prior convictions, shall be adjudged an habitual criminal.
  • The 2 prior convictions need not have been for the same offense.  
  • Any convictions that result from or are connected with the same transaction, or result from offenses committed at the same time, shall be counted for the purposes of this Section as one conviction.
  • This Section does not apply unless each of the following requirements are satisfied: 
    • The third offense was committed after July 3, 1980. 
    • The third offense was committed within 20 years of the date that judgment was entered on the first conviction; provided, however, that time spent in custody shall not be counted. 
    • The third offense was committed after conviction on the second offense. 
    • The second offense was committed after conviction on the first offense.  
  • Except when the death penalty is imposed, anyone adjudged an habitual criminal shall be sentenced to a term of natural life imprisonment. 
  • A prior conviction shall not be alleged in the indictment, and no evidence or other disclosure of that conviction shall be presented to the court or the jury during the trial of an offense set forth in this Section unless otherwise permitted by the issues properly raised in that trial. After a plea or verdict or finding of guilty and before sentence is imposed, the prosecutor may file with the court a verified written statement signed by the State's Attorney concerning any former conviction of an offense set forth in this Section rendered against the defendant. The court shall then cause the defendant to be brought before it; shall inform the defendant of the allegations of the statement so filed, and of his or her right to a hearing before the court on the issue of that former conviction and of his or her right to counsel at that hearing; and unless the defendant admits such conviction, shall hear and determine the issue, and shall make a written finding thereon. If a sentence has previously been imposed, the court may vacate that sentence and impose a new sentence in accordance with this Section. 
  • A duly authenticated copy of the record of any alleged former conviction of an offense set forth in this Section shall be prima facie evidence of that former conviction; and a duly authenticated copy of the record of the defendant's final release or discharge from probation granted, or from sentence and parole supervision (if any) imposed pursuant to that former conviction, shall be prima facie evidence of that release or discharge. 
  • Any claim that a previous conviction offered by the prosecution is not a former conviction of an offense set forth in this Section because of the existence of any exceptions described in this Section, is waived unless duly raised at the hearing on that conviction, or unless the prosecution's proof shows the existence of the exceptions described in this Section. 
  • If the person so convicted shows to the satisfaction of the court before whom that conviction was had that he or she was released from imprisonment, upon either of the sentences upon a pardon granted for the reason that he or she was innocent, that conviction and sentence shall not be considered under this Section.  
  • When a defendant, over the age of 21 years, is  convicted of a Class 1 or Class 2 felony, after having twice been convicted in any state or federal court of an offense that contains the same elements as an offense now (the date the Class 1 or Class 2 felony was committed) classified in Illinois as a Class 2 or greater Class felony and those charges are separately brought and tried and arise out of different series of acts, that defendant shall be sentenced as a Class X offender. This subsection does not apply unless:
    • the first felony was committed after February 1, 1978 (the effective date of Public Act 80‑1099);  
    • the second felony was committed after conviction on the first; and 
    • the third felony was committed after conviction on the second. 
  • A person sentenced as a Class X offender under this subsection (b) is not eligible to apply for treatment as a condition of probation as provided by Section 40‑10 of the Alcoholism and Other Drug Abuse and Dependency Act (20 ILCS 301/40‑10).

 

705 ILCS 405/5815. Habitual Juvenile Offender.10 

(for full text see footnote reference link)

  • Definition. Any minor having been twice adjudicated a delinquent minor for offenses which, had he been prosecuted as an adult, would have been felonies under the laws of this State, and who is thereafter adjudicated a delinquent minor for a third time shall be adjudged an Habitual Juvenile Offender where: 
    • the third adjudication is for an offense occurring after adjudication on the second; and 
    • the second adjudication was for an offense occurring after adjudication on the first; and 
    • the third offense occurred after January 1, 1980;  and 
    • the third offense was based upon the commission  of or attempted commission of the following offenses: first degree murder, second degree murder or involuntary manslaughter; criminal sexual assault or aggravated criminal sexual assault; aggravated or heinous battery involving permanent disability or disfigurement or great bodily harm to the victim; burglary of a home or other residence intended for use as a temporary or permanent dwelling place for human beings; home invasion; robbery or armed robbery; or aggravated arson. 
  • Nothing in this Section shall preclude the State's Attorney from seeking to prosecute a minor as an adult as an alternative to prosecution as an habitual juvenile offender. 
  • Disposition. If the court finds that the prerequisites established in subsection (a) of this Section have been proven, it shall adjudicate the minor an Habitual Juvenile Offender and commit him to the Department of Juvenile Justice until his 21st birthday, without possibility of parole, furlough, or non‑emergency authorized absence. However, the minor shall be entitled to earn one day of good conduct credit for each day served as reductions against the period of his confinement. Such good conduct credits shall be earned or revoked according to the procedures applicable to the allowance and revocation of good conduct credit for adult prisoners serving determinate sentences for felonies. 
  • For purposes of determining good conduct credit, commitment as an Habitual Juvenile Offender shall be considered a determinate commitment, and the difference between the date of the commitment and the minor's 21st birthday shall be considered the determinate period of his confinement. 
General Jail Cutoff (months):
12
Notable Sentencing Laws:

“C-Numbers" refers to those inmates who were convicted to indeterminate sentences prior to implementation of determinate sentencing in 1978.11  

  • C-numbered inmates periodically appear before members of the Illinois Prisoner Review Board to plead their case for parole. Other inmates serve a specific amount of time and are released after serving a percentage of their sentence.

730 ILCS 5/5‑7‑1, from Ch. 38, par. 1005‑7‑1. Sentence of Periodic Imprisonment.12

(for full text see footnote reference link)

  • A sentence of periodic imprisonment is a sentence of imprisonment during which the committed person may be released for periods of time during the day or night or for periods of days, or both, or if convicted of a felony, other than first degree murder, a Class X or Class 1 felony, committed to any county, municipal, or regional correctional or detention institution or facility in this State for such periods of time as the court may direct. Unless the court orders otherwise, the particular times and conditions of release shall be determined by the Department of Corrections, the sheriff, or the Superintendent of the house of corrections, who is administering the program. 
  • A sentence of periodic imprisonment may be imposed to permit the defendant to: 
    • seek employment; 
    • work; 
    • conduct a business or other self‑employed occupation including housekeeping;  
    • attend to family needs; 
    • attend an educational institution, including vocational education;  
    • obtain medical or psychological treatment; 
    • perform work duties at a county, municipal, or regional correctional or detention institution or facility;  
    • continue to reside at home with or without supervision involving the use of an approved electronic monitoring device, subject to Article 8A of Chapter V; or  
    • for any other purpose determined by the court. 
  • Except where prohibited by other provisions of this Code, the court may impose a sentence of periodic imprisonment for a felony or misdemeanor on a person who is 17 years of age or older. The court shall not impose a sentence of periodic imprisonment if it imposes a sentence of imprisonment upon the defendant in excess of 90 days. 
  • A sentence of periodic imprisonment shall be for a definite term of from 3 to 4 years for a Class 1 felony, 18 to 30 months for a Class 2 felony, and up to 18 months, or the longest sentence of imprisonment that could be imposed for the offense, whichever is less, for all other offenses; however, no person shall be sentenced to a term of periodic imprisonment longer than one year if he is committed to a county correctional institution or facility, and in conjunction with that sentence participate in a county work release program comparable to the work and day release program provided for in Article 13 of the Unified Code of Corrections in State facilities. The term of the sentence shall be calculated upon the basis of the duration of its term rather than upon the basis of the actual days spent in confinement. No sentence of periodic imprisonment shall be subject to the good time credit provisions of Section 3‑6‑3 of this Code.

Correctional System
System Structure Type:
Separate
Prison Jurisdiction:
The Illinois Department of Corrections is responsible for the incarceration of felony sentenced offenders and the supervision of offenders on parole and conditional release.
Type of Facilities:
The Illinois Department of Corrections operates 25 adult correctional centers as well as boot camps, work camps, and adult transition centers.13
 
Private Prisons:
The DOC holds offenders in privately operated facilities.
Admission Types:

Admission Types:14

Court or Discharged and Recommitted

New Offense Parole Violator

Technical Parole Violator


Release Supervision
Post-Prison Supervision Jurisdiction:
State DOC, Independent Probation Agency
Supervision Jurisdiction:
Probation is supervised by county probation departments, Cook County being the largest in the state.

Release Types:
    

1 http://jrx.sagepub.com/content/14/2/1.abstract
2https://www2.illinois.gov/idoc/aboutus/Pages/faq.aspx
3https://www2.illinois.gov/idoc/aboutus/Pages/faq.aspx
4http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=073000050HCh%2E+V%2E+Art%2E+4%2E5&ActID=1999&ChapterID=55&SeqStart=23600000&SeqEnd=25800000
5http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/073000050K3-3-3.htm
6https://www2.illinois.gov/idoc/aboutus/Pages/faq.aspx
7https://www2.illinois.gov/idoc/aboutus/Pages/faq.aspx
8https://www2.illinois.gov/idoc/aboutus/Pages/faq.aspx
9http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/073000050K5-4.5-95.htm
10http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/070504050K5-815.htm
11https://www2.illinois.gov/idoc/aboutus/Pages/faq.aspx
12http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=073000050HCh%2E+V+Art%2E+7&ActID=1999&ChapterID=55&SeqStart=29400000&SeqEnd=30300000
13http://www2.illinois.gov/idoc/aboutus/Pages/IDOCOverview.aspx
14https://www2.illinois.gov/idoc/reportsandstatistics/Documents/FY2017%20IDOC%20Annual%20Report%20FINAL.pdf

Disclaimer: The information on the Fact Sheets has been assembled verbatim from the public sources referenced in the Fact Sheets. For some states, the Department of Corrections or Community Supervision has also provided additional information. Because this type of information is constantly changing, users are cautioned to research and verify website information independently.

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