Illinois’ omnibus criminal justice legislation had several provisions take effect on July 1st. One provision is the numbers of years a defendant is sentenced to mandatory supervised release in criminal felony cases.
Morgan County State’s Attorney Gray Noll says that parole or MSR as it’s called has been lowered for certain felony classes: “Previously, before July 1st, an individual charged with a Class 3 or Class 4 felony, if they went to prison, would have to serve a 1-year period of mandatory supervised release. As of July 1st, there is no longer a parole for Class 3 or Class 4 felonies, so they go from 1 year to 0. Class 1 and Class 2 felonies used to require a 2-year period of mandatory supervised release. That has, for the majority of Class 1 and Class 2 felonies, been amended down to a 1-year period of mandatory supervised release.”
Noll says that many of the more serious criminal offenses will remain the same: “Murder [cases] still remain the same with 3 years of mandatory supervised release. Most of the serious criminal sexual assault and criminal sexual abuse-type cases, the mandatory supervised release period is still 3 years to life. Finally, Class X felonies, instead of a 3-year period of mandatory supervised release, as of July 1st and going forward, it’s an 18-month period of mandatory supervised release.”
Noll says that parole does factor into negotiated plea deals with alleged offenders. He says the new rules will mostly effect local law enforcement: “The main thing that we look at [in negotiated pleas] is a prison sentence and/or local jail time sentence. Mandatory supervised release is a part of the overall package, so to speak, that we look at when resolving cases. The main thing that this will effect for law enforcement and for our office is when an individual is on mandatory supervised release, they are subject to search at anytime.”
Noll says that the searches can often deter a subject from re-offending or possibly catching a previous offender in the act of committing a new crime.
Noll says that mandatory supervised release also helps offenders with recidivism by helping them find employment after jail time or get in touch with local services through their parole officer. Noll says he can’t answer on whether the criminal justice reform will work. He says it’s possibly a slippery slope and only time will tell if the new law will help Illinois’ criminal justice system.