Lightford052419SPRINGFIELD – Prison inmates who are required to serve most of their sentences could soon reduce them by successfully completing classes aimed at rehabilitation under a proposal led by Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood).

“We are working to increase participation in programs that prepare inmates for re-entry into our society,” Lightford said. “When we release people from the criminal justice system, they have a better chance of not returning to it if they can get their life back on track.”

Currently, individuals sentenced under truth-in-sentencing provisions, who are required to serve 85 percent or 100 percent of their sentence, are ineligible to receive sentencing credit for successful completion of classes with educational, substance abuse, vocational or re-entry focus.

Other incarcerated persons can currently receive additional sentence credits for engaging in full-time substance abuse programs, correctional industry assignments, educational programs, behavior modification programs, life skills courses or re-entry planning programs.

House Bill 94 allows for individuals serving a sentence for an offense committed before the enactment of truth-in-sentencing on June 19, 1998 to be eligible for good time sentence credits in the future and retroactively for completion of those programs.

Currently, the Director of the Department of Corrections can award an additional 180 days of good conduct credit to incarcerated individuals for compliance with rules or service to the public. The department is also required to provide an additional 90 days of sentence credit to any incarcerated person who passes high school equivalency testing while incarcerated.

The measure was approved by the Senate on Friday, and will head back to the House on concurrence.

Category: News

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