Illinois law makes it extremely difficult for certain sex offenders to leave prison, even after serving their entire sentences, according to an article by Peoria Public Radio. Stringent parole requirements have forced several offenders to stay in prison beyond their sentences with very little hope for release.
A Rockford, Illinois man is among those caught in this never-ending cycle. The Rockford man served his six-year sentence for aggravated criminal sexual assault. Parole requirements only allow for the man’s release if he secures appropriate housing. In this man’s case, he must find housing that is disconnected from the Internet and a certain distance from any schools, parks, or other locations where children gather.
Unable to afford housing on his own, the Rockford man asked his family for help. His family members were either too close to children or unable to remove Internet connectivity. As a result, the Rockford man has been in prison for an extra six years on top of his original sentence.
According to a report from the Illinois Department of Corrections, it costs approximately $22,000 annually to incarcerate an inmate in Illinois. This means that Illinois has paid approximately $132,000 over the past six years to keep the Rockford man in prison.
For those convicted of certain sex crimes – including child pornography and aggravated criminal sexual assault – parole does not begin until the inmates find appropriate housing. If the sex offender cannot find appropriate housing, the parole board will not review their situation, and the sex offender could remain in prison for the rest of time.
Before a decision from the Illinois Supreme Court in 2012, there was a different approach to appropriate housing for sex offenders. If the sex offender could not find appropriate housing, then they would serve out their parole in prison. Then the sex offender would be released. That remains the case today for other vicious crimes, including murder, arson, and domestic violence.
That is a why the Rockford man and a group of sex offenders have filed a class-action lawsuit. They argue that the parole requirements violate their rights by imposing a potentially never-ending sentence. Essentially, this group argues that it is practically impossible to find appropriate housing in Illinois that is away from children and disconnected from the Internet.
Until the courts make a final decision concerning Illinois parole rules, or other circumstances change significantly, sex offenders like the Rockford man will be stuck in prison.
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No matter what the criminal offense, all criminal charges are serious. A sound strategy and an aggressive defense are essential for a positive outcome. To protect your rights in such situations, it is highly advisable to retain legal counsel from an experienced criminal defense attorney.
The Prior Law Firm in Bloomington, Illinois has proven experience in criminal defense. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free consultation. You can reach The Prior Law Firm by phone at (309) 827-4300, email at email@example.com or by completing an online form.
(image courtesy of Javier Villaraco)