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Supervised Release in Illinois

February 3rd, 2015 at 8:53 pm

Illinois defense attorney, sentencing guidelines, Illinois criminal lawyer,Most people who have not had dealings with the criminal justice system base their knowledge of that system on what they see on television. Unfortunately, television depictions of criminal law are not always accurate, and even when they are, they cannot possibly represent the criminal law of every state because every state has different laws. One example of this issue has to do with parole. People assume because of television that when someone is released from prison, he or she is released on parole. However, in Illinois, that is not the case. Illinois eliminated parole (except for those people who were sentenced long enough ago that parole was a possibility when they were sentenced) and replaced it with supervised release, a different system entirely.

Who is Subject to Supervised Release?

Illinois statute requires a program known as mandatory supervised release. The statute says that whenever someone is sentenced to prison and that sentence is not one of natural life, “every sentence includes a term in addition to the term of imprisonment.” If a person was sentenced under the law in effect before February 1, 1978, then that term is one of parole, just like is seen on TV. If the person was sentenced under the laws in effect after that date, the term is one of “mandatory supervised release.”

What is the Difference Between Parole and Supervised Release?

Under parole systems, which many states still have, the person is released before he or she serves every day of his or her sentence. The person has specific parole rules he or she has to live by, and if he or she violates one of those rules he or she might go back to prison to finish serving out the sentence. If the person does not break the rules then he or she remains on parole until his or her sentence has expired, and then he or she is let free. Under a supervised release system, the person serves his or her sentence in prison, and after it is served there is an additional term of supervised release on top of that sentence. The supervised release term is usually two or three years. It is usually served out of custody under supervision, but some offenders actually wind up serving it in prison either by their own choice or because they are unable to find an approved home plan.

Federal Court Cracks Down on Supervised Release Conditions

Under parole systems, there are a host of conditions that can be placed on a parolee’s release. However, conditions are different under a supervised release system. There are limits on what sorts of conditions courts can impose. The Chicago Sun Times recently reported that a U.S. Appeals Court overturned four sentences because of the supervised release conditions judges had imposed. These conditions included:

  • A ban on “excessive drinking” that did not define “excessive”;
  • A lifetime ban on a person being around children under age 18, including his own children, without a probation officer’s approval; and
  • An order to get a GED or go back to prison, even if the inmate lacks the intellectual capacity to pass the GED test.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

When you are convicted of a crime and sentenced to prison in Illinois, supervised release is mandatory. Before you plead guilty or go to trial in any case where this is a possibility, you need to seek the advice of an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at (847)394-3200. We will schedule a consultation to discuss your case.

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