Illinois to Require Annual Reporting on Electronic Monitoring Use

Legislators unanimously pass law after hearing from justice-involved individuals, community members, and advocates from the Shriver Center.

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker today approved a new law requiring the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) and Prisoner Review Board (PRB) to collect and annually publish data on their use of electronic monitoring for people on Mandatory Supervised Release (MSR), starting January 1, 2020. Lawmakers’ unanimously passed the Electronic Monitoring Data Collection Act earlier this summer, making Illinois the first state in the country to pass legislation requiring data reporting on its use of electronic monitoring technology.

Being placed on electronic monitoring home detention forces returning citizens to stay inside of their homes except for a few hours a week when they are given permission to leave. Each year, the IDOC and PRB place more than 3,000 people on electronic monitoring after they have completed their prison sentences. The Electronic Monitoring Data Collection Act will help researchers, legislators, and Illinois taxpayers determine whether this program is an effective use of state resources.

Before passing the bill, legislators heard from justice-involved individuals, community members, and members of the Illinois Coalition Challenging E-carceration, including advocates from the Shriver Center on Poverty Law who testified to how the use of electronic monitoring for people who have already completed their prison sentences impedes returning citizens’ ability to reconnect with family and rebuild relationships, secure employment, and shed the stigmatization from being in prison.

Though Illinois pays $6.5 million dollars annually to a private prison company that administers the state’s electronic monitoring program, the IDOC and PRB currently do not provide any data to the public on how it uses the technology or on the effectiveness of this policy. 

Under the new law, the two state agencies governing the use of electronic monitoring in Illinois would be required to annually report: 

  • How many people are placed on electronic monitoring during Mandatory Supervised Release each year;
  • Which individuals are put on electronic monitoring—including information about their race, residence location, the reason they were incarcerated, and how much time they served in prison before being released; 
  • The length of time that the IDOC and PRB are placing individuals on Electronic Monitoring for;
  • How often people are violating electronic monitoring, and whether people are being re-incarcerated for violations;
  • How many people are being rearrested for new crimes while on electronic monitoring;
  • Evidence of the evaluation tools the agencies use to determine who should be placed on MSR electronic monitoring. 

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Interaction with the criminal legal system can keep people from being able to advance economically.

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