The state of Illinois published a list and confirmed it released 4,000 inmates, including 146 sex offenders, this week.
The state provided a list of about 4,000 inmates who were released from prisons, which also includes 64 convicted of murder, according to MyStateLine and CBS23. Each inmate had their sentence commuted by Gov. J.B. Pritzker or were released early by the Illinois Department of Corrections.
Winnebago County State’s Attorney Marilyn Hite-Ross told MyStateLine that some inmates are being let out too quickly, and some victims were not informed. That is required under the Illinois Rights of Crime Victim’s Act and state constitution, she said.
“The lack of appropriate notice to my office regarding the early release of these individuals hinders my ability to notify victims and family members in a timely manner. As Winnebago County State’s Attorney, I will continue to oppose the early release and furlough of violent offenders back into the Winnebago County community,” Hite-Ross said Monday.
CBS32 and MyStateLine reported that three of the sex offenders who were released are considered “sexually dangerous persons.”
The governor’s office told ABC20 that some inmates were released within six months of their sentences being finished.
“There is a clear process that has been used for decades when governors exercise their clemency powers,” the governor’s office said in a statement. “The Prisoner Review Board makes confidential recommendations to the governor who reviews clemency petitions and takes action. The Governor is a strong believer in criminal justice reform and that means carefully and thoughtfully considering petitions for clemency from those who have demonstrated a commitment to rehabilitation while serving their sentence.”
The office said that Pritzker did not release the inmates due to the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic.
“When people finish their sentences, they are released. That is how the criminal justice process works. The Governor has not released 4,000 people due to COVID,” the governor’s office said.
But Hite-Ross told MyStateLine that her office was initially told that only non-violent criminals would be released over the COVID-19 pandemic.
Police departments from all over the state sent a letter to Pritzker, questioning why the sentences were reduced, according to Central Illinois Proud. Winnebago County Sheriff Gary Caruana also said there is no evidence people are safer from contracting the virus outside of jail.
“The notion that the jails and prisons are not safe, well, I beg to differ,” Caruana said this week. “We’re doing everything we can to keep it clean. We clean morning, noon, and night. We had a company here that did sterilization of everything.”