Following recent revelations that Governor J.B. Pritzker has commuted prison sentences and released violent criminals, including convicted murderers, Senator Jil Tracy is joining with several Senate Republican lawmakers to submit a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) seeking more information about inmates who have been released.
On April 16, Senators Tracy, Steve McClure, Chapin Rose, Craig Wilcox, Jason Plummer, Dan McConchie, Brian Stewart, Paul Schimpf, and Dale Righter sent a letter (seen below) to the Governor expressing concern that violent criminals had been released without informing the victims of these crimes or their families.
“No one is disputing that the Governor has the authority to release prisoners; however, we have trouble with the manner in which this has been done,” said Senator Tracy. “There is little to no regard for the safety of the citizens of Illinois, or the crime victims and witnesses who will be affected when a convicted felon is being released – ahead of schedule – back into the community.”
In the letter, legislators made several requests, including that the Pritzker Administration provide a full list of the names of inmates who have been released and that this list be published on the IDOC website.
“I find it troubling that not only have violent criminals been released, but that they have been released with so little transparency,” said Senator Dan McConchie (R-Hawthorn Woods). “I recognize that this is a challenging time for Illinois, but we can’t set a precedent of circumventing the mechanisms that are in place to protect the citizens of our state.”
To date, this request has not been fulfilled, leaving this group of legislators no choice but to file the FOIA request seeking a list of all inmates who have been released from IDOC custody before completing their sentence since January 1, 2020. The FOIA asks that the list includes first and last name, county of conviction, case number, conviction, sentence, date of release, and reasons for release.
“It is unfortunate that our calls for greater transparency on this issue – especially for victims and their families – haven’t been listened to, but that’s not going to stop us from continuing to push for the release of this critical information,” said Senator McConchie.
The Illinois Department of Corrections has five days to provide a response to the request unless it requests an extension.