IDOC’s Internet Community Notification Page for “Early Releases”

Posted: July 30, 2010 by parchangelo in IDOC

A lot of IDOC inmates are curious about the new “Community Notification of Early Release Offenders” page which IDOC has posted on it’s website, here, and are wondering what the page means about the status of the IDOC “Early Release” programs.

We and others have looked at it and decided that the persons being released seem to be the last individuals who were eligible to receive MGT before the program was suspended. The page heading states, as follows:

“The following offenders either received a grant of good conduct credit for meritorious service pursuant to 730 ILCS 5/3-6-3 (a)(3) or have been placed on electronic detention pursuant to The Electronic Home Detention Law. The awards for meritorious service were approved prior to the program’s suspension on January 15, 2010. The IDOC Electronic Detention program has been suspended since January 5, 2010. Click on an IDOC# to view details regarding an offender on this list. You may also use the Illinois Department of Corrections – Inmate Search feature to search for offenders by last name, birthdate or IDOC#.”

Since July 19, 2010, IDOC has posted about 302 names of inmates who it has  released early during this month and 13 inmates who are now placed on home electronic detention. The postings seem to be kept current by nightly updating. IDOC has posted personal information regarding each of these individuals on this page of their website in accordance with the new law which requires IDOC to publicly post certain information about each person the agency decides to release early before they have served the full term of their sentence.  The new state law became effective July 19, 2010, and reads as follows:

“(730 ILCS 5/5-8A-5.1 new)
Sec. 5-8A-5.1. Public notice of release on electronic home
monitoring detention. The Department must make identification
information and a recent photo of an inmate being placed on
electronic home monitoring detention under the provisions of
this Article accessible on the Internet by means of a hyperlink
labeled “Community Notification of Inmate Early Release” on the
Department’s World Wide Web homepage. The identification
information shall include the inmate’s: name, any known alias,
date of birth, physical characteristics, residence address,
commitment offense and county where conviction was imposed. The
identification information shall be placed on the website
within 3 days of the inmate’s release on electronic home
monitoring detention, and the information may not be removed
until either: completion of the first year of mandatory
supervised release or return of the inmate to custody of the
Department. “

So, the new law forces IDOC  now to publicly announce whenever it chooses to release any inmate early. Down the road, it may also work to increase the department’s recidivism rate.

The exact merits of publicly releasing the personal details about each inmate is debatable since it is apparent from this first posting that there are a ton of individuals pending release from IDOC facilities.  For all practical purposes, the public is going to be almost immediately swamped in an avalanche of legally required minutiae on each inmate which is virtually useless as far as crime prevention goes. (Do we really need to know every “alias” name a person is known by, how many “tatoos” they have and what each tatoo says?) Maybe this will be valuable information for informers to learn so they have more credibility later to “finger” someone else for an offense, or for other individuals to use who have grudges to settle.

The big issue in this info release is the possible security risk that inmates and their families will now face from public retaliation due to their addresses being published. A quick look at the list shows it will now be easy to identify group facilities housing multiple offenders in a neighborhood. This may create difficulty for the organizations operating these units as well as the unwelcome publicity jeopardizing the chance all released inmates have to successfully reintegrate back into society.

Only time will show the public response to an increased awareness of offenders living in their neighborhoods. Will Google pages tracking individuals start popping up?

What is less certain is the selection of those individuals IDOC is now releasing “early”.  We compared a sample of the names of those released now to the “MGT Impact List” from the Early Release program suspension of January 15, 2010.  Although a few are old names from the first list (possibly re-arrested ones) a lot of the latest “early release” names are new and not on the list of those affected by the program suspension in January.

So what does this mean? We do not want to get anyone’s hopes up, but we do not know. Maybe there are wiser heads out there who do know? If so, we would like to hear your opinion! IDOC seems to be indicating that these are individuals who had been notified about their eligibility for MGT before the program was suspended and who are just now being released after about a six-month delay. It is also possible that the overcrowding in IDOC has reached the point that IDOC is beginning to release non-violent offenders under the pretext that MGT was awarded to them before the program was suspended. We don’t know. IDOC is telling different people different stories. The only thing IDOC is consistent on is maintaining that MGT remains suspended. These individuals appear to meet the more recently recommended criteria for non-violent offenders; being primarily convicted of drug and miscellaneous lesser offenses.

The IDOC page continues to state that the Early Release program and Electronic Detention remain suspended. If so, and if these individuals received MGT prior to the suspension, then the delay in their release may have been political and it is now perceived “safe” to release them. If so, then perhaps we can interpret this as a positive indication that the Early Release program will be reinstated sooner rather than much later. Yet, it is more likely that these are the individuals IDOC is using to demonstrate that it will require inmates to first serve the minimum time required to earn eligibility for MGT before awarding it to them. This could explain the six-month hold and delay and show how IDOC will administer awarding MGT in the future if permitted to do so. If IDOC feels compelled to release these individuals due to some other consideration (such as recognition of a legal inability to continue to hold them), then this also would be worth noting. We can only suggest keeping an eye on the Notification page. If these releases only pertained to individuals eligible in January 2010, then the number released should end shortly.

  1. MRS,ABBOTT says:

    i truely belive that the good time should be given back out. Because just as bad as the inmates want to come home early there families want them to as well. a small amount of those inmates in chicago have someone out there thats having there first baby and would want they’re childs father to be thereto see they’re new borns birth. Good time should be pasted again because unlike most of the inmates some are innocent and was just at the wrong place at the wrong time and is missed by the only family they got and really tired of crying at night<3


  2. My husband went in cindy kaehr says:

    My l o went in nov will he get credit


  3. joyce watkins says:

    my boyfriend has been in there since 2006 come on now please give him some good time he needs it


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