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If you want to be governor, run for governor

Monday, Apr 27, 2020

* I agree with this HGOP press release on the need for more process transparency. But, as we’ve discussed before, Pritzker is not doing anything at all different when it comes to transparency that any of his predecessors going back multiple decades, notwithstanding the dark hints below.

By law, the Illinois Prisoner Review Board makes “confidential recommendations to the Governor” on commutations. A different statute allows the Director of the Department of Corrections to grant furloughs without notification of anyone at the state level.

* Anyway, on to the press release…

Illinois House Republicans are asking for more transparency and open communications from the Illinois Department of Corrections and the Pritzker administration on policy changes and communications regarding prison furloughs or inmates released early during the coronavirus pandemic.

State Rep. Avery Bourne (R-Morrisonville), whose district includes correctional centers in Taylorville and Hillsboro, said inmates released into her district include high-level drug and meth dealers.

“As a co-equal branch of government, we should not have had to learn through news reports that these inmates had been released into the general population,” said Rep. Bourne. “Governor Pritzker, his staff, and Acting Director Jeffreys have ignored our repeated requests for information. None of them have been forthcoming with facts or the rationale behind to their decision-making, and today we renew our request. Additionally, we want to know why the Governor is being so secretive about these furloughs.”

On April 9, 2020, 22 House Republican members sent a letter to IDOC Director Jeffreys laying out their questions and concerns. So far, they have not received a response. In fact, several letters from various members of the House Republican caucus have been sent to the administration and the Department on different subject matters relating to DOC. To date, no answers have been provided to the lawmakers by either the Governor or DOC.

State Rep. Terri Bryant says she has asked the governor and the DOC about the release of undocumented immigrants without notifying local law enforcement officials, why a correctional facility lockdown was not implemented sooner to stop the spread of COVID-19, and what criteria was used to determine the release of more than 1300 Department of Corrections offenders.

“The people of Illinois have the right to understand the rationale being used by the Pritzker administration in making critical decisions regarding the operations at the IDOC,” Bryant said. “Far from seeking our advice, the Governor has simply ignored requests from members of the General Assembly for more information. As a co-equal branch of government, we have a right and a duty to demand transparency from the governor.”

In the April 9 letter to Jeffreys, House Republicans sought information about the parameters used to decide which inmates qualified for furloughs or early release, the type of oversight that is in place to monitor furloughed inmates, and if victims and communities were notified ahead of time prior to each prisoner’s release. They also asked for a complete list of furloughed offenders and any inmates released early due to coronavirus, and the crimes for which they were serving time.

State Rep. Tom Bennett (R-Gibson City), whose legislative district includes the Pontiac Correctional Center and is home to several employees of the Danville Correctional Center, also expressed disappointment in the lack of information that has been shared about the early release of hundreds of offenders.

“While the Governor may have executive powers to make unilateral decisions during this time, his administration should be more transparent and forthcoming when they are making decisions that affect the safety of the people and communities of the State of Illinois,” Rep Bennett said.

State Rep. John Cabello (R-Machesney Park), who has worked for more than 20 years as a police officer and detective, suggested the Governor is using the Coronavirus pandemic to further his cause of releasing criminals, many of whom were given multiple chances and received sentences as repeat offenders.

“I will hold Governor Pritzker personally responsible if any of the murderers or other violent felons he has released hurt another person,” said Rep. Cabello. “If they do, I will make it my mission in life to make sure the victims, their families, and the public know that offender was back on the streets and able to victimize them because of Governor JB Pritzker’s actions.”

As far as the “criteria” being used to release prisoners, Rep. Bryant should probably read the relevant EO and the accompanying statute. It’s in there.

Look, the role of the legislature is to legislate, not “consult” on executive decision-making aside from the Senate’s advice and consent role in nominations. So, if they want to come back and legislate, they need to direct their ire at the House Speaker and the Senate President.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

12 Comments
  1. - Annonin - Monday, Apr 27, 20 @ 12:33 pm:

    Didn’t we do this last week?
    Can someone tell Sheriff Bourne and Justice Cabello that the word the releasees have had Parole Board Reviews and they could have objected then?


  2. - OpentoDiscussion - Monday, Apr 27, 20 @ 12:33 pm:

    =Look, the role of the legislature is to legislate, not “consult” on executive decision-making aside from the Senate’s advice and consent role in nominations. So, if they want to come back and legislate, they need to direct their ire at the House Speaker and the Senate President.=

    I would agree. If the Republicans don’t like what is being done, then they can introduce legislation or try to initiate a lawsuit which seems to be a very popular avenue in today’s political world.

    Personally, however, I would like to know who is being released. What were their crimes and how close to the end of their jail term they are.


  3. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Apr 27, 20 @ 12:38 pm:

    If you look at Ms. Bourne’s and Mr. Cabello’s Facebook…

    Neither… neither are concerned about the health or well-being of constituents, rather they are discussing “food choices”, business worries, or decidedly pointed whining at the Governor… lacking empathy too.

    Rep. Bryant has decided to be more even handed, showing empathy, and trying to point out things a representative might.

    Very telling.

    You know who people are… in crisis.


  4. - Frank talks - Monday, Apr 27, 20 @ 12:48 pm:

    Super minority gotta do something. They haven’t been to Springfield for almost 2 months. Some of them are probably getting the shakes not being able to complain about Madigan and the rules committees.


  5. - 44th - Monday, Apr 27, 20 @ 12:51 pm:

    well when the executive (or judicial for that matter) decides to not follow the law the legislative branch gets to investigate. checks and balances? I dont know what is going on here, but the trend continues in this state of ignoring victims. Dont see you lecturing Kim Foxx and Tom Dart and Cook County Judges when they decide to legislate restorative justice measures against the written laws.


  6. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Apr 27, 20 @ 12:58 pm:

    === I dont know what is going on here, but the trend continues in this state of ignoring victims.===

    Who exactly is the victim?

    Those infected by the virus or “businesses and money”

    Ms. Bourne and Mr. Cabello aren’t too concerned about medical victims.

    The Facebook choices seem to tell me so.


  7. - the Edge - Monday, Apr 27, 20 @ 1:18 pm:

    One unfortunate overlook in the rhetoric is that criminals do rehabilitate after spending time in prison, and they should be released back to the community. Many simply paint a convicted criminal as one who never is rehabilitated and should never be released into the community. Yes, some do crimes again, but we need to believe people are inherently good and are rehabilitated, even “drug dealers”.


  8. - Demoralized - Monday, Apr 27, 20 @ 1:34 pm:

    ==I dont know what is going on here,==

    Then why are you even commenting on it? You stated in your first sentence that the law isn’t being followed and them immediately stated you have no idea what is going on.


  9. - Fixer - Monday, Apr 27, 20 @ 2:35 pm:

    ==I dont know what is going on here,==

    Noted.


  10. - JS Mill - Monday, Apr 27, 20 @ 2:36 pm:

    I am very disappointed in Tom Bennett. He is a genuinely good person but never said boo during Rauner’s short stint as governor.


  11. - the Patriot - Monday, Apr 27, 20 @ 6:19 pm:

    “Who is the victim…the people losing everything for something that does not exist where they live. Oh and the people actually dying or killing themselves because of restrictions with no rational basis. And no you cannot I justify suspending the court system and religious freedom while selling auto parts, fast food, and pot.


  12. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Monday, Apr 27, 20 @ 7:06 pm:

    === Who is the victim…the people losing everything for something that does not exist where they live.===
    See, that is an illusion. Had we shut down society a month earlier, countless lives would have been saved. Because evidence shows that many people had Covid-19 before the first “official” case. And that’s the problem. You think it doesn’t exist some places. It most certainly is there.


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