Chicago Sun-Times
A dialog between Sun-Times opinion writers and our readers

Quirk in Illinois sentencing is counterproductive

| 3 Comments | No TrackBacks

A quirk in Illinois sentencing laws means some nonviolent prison inmates can't trim their sentences by getting a GED or undergoing drug treatment, but some violent criminals can.

That's because state sentencing laws are a hodge podge collection that's been assembled piecemeal over the years without much overall research or reflection.

An example: At one point, the Legislature decided that people convicted of the most serious offenses - Class X crimes - aren't eligible to get good time for GEDs or drug treatment. At another point, the Legislature added some nonviolent drug crimes into the Class X category.

The result? Nonviolent Class X prisoners convicted of drug crimes can't knock off a little from their sentences by getting a GED or drug treatment.

That seems to run counter to sensible prison policy. Don't we want to encourage people behind bars to try to improve themselves? Don't we want to reward good behavior? If we sometimes let people out early because prisons are running out of space, why wouldn't we want to do that for more positive reasons?

The amount of time knocked off a sentence isn't huge. A prisoner can get two months of good time for a GED. Good time for drug treatment can vary.

Follow BackTalk on Twitter@stbacktalk

No TrackBacks

TrackBack URL: http://blogs.suntimes.com/cgi-bin/mt-tb.cgi/43841

3 Comments

The legislature needs to start over. Some dangerous criminals get out too soon and commit new crimes. Other non-violent offenders get sentences that are unreasonably long compared to European standards. Too little is done to rehabilitate inmates so they have a chance to "go straight" when they get out.

I agree on the views and opinion of Joe Warner but somehow I think Law must be reviewed again here in the Philippines because I really don't believe on the law in here. They are biased and not fair to many especially when you are known person and you have lot's of money.

Georgie

My blog : tonnelle adossée 

The problem is, even if someone said "hey, let's just fix this," it would take millenia for it to go up and back down the system. This is so ridiculous. There must be incentives for people to even try to care enough to become rehabilitated.

Leave a comment

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Thomas Frisbie published on November 10, 2011 3:49 PM.

Court Clerk Dorothy Brown's strategy for 4th term was the previous entry in this blog.

Griping Americans seek equality of opportunity is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.