This legislative session, state lawmakers will consider a critical bill that would advance justice, equity and liberation for thousands of Illinoisans returning from incarceration each year. HB 1115 proposes a ban on the use of electronic monitoring for individuals who have served their full prison term. Under current Illinois policy, re-entering residents who have completed an entire sentence are routinely subjected to extended terms of house arrest under electronic monitoring, as determined by extrajudicial prison review boards.
The pervasive use of electronic monitoring in Illinois has had devastating consequences for thousands of individuals returning from incarceration. Under the extreme restrictions imposed by remotely surveilled house arrest, re-entering Illinoisans often lack the flexibility required to secure employment, pursue educational goals, access medical care, and reestablish relationships with community support systems. Moreover, electronic monitoring perpetuates the unjust and racially targeted cycle of re-incarceration. By facilitating overly stringent conditions of community based supervision, electronic monitoring all but ensures that hundreds of Illinoisans will return to prison for mere technical parole violations each year.
The practice of community based electronic monitoring further entrenches Illinois’ pernicious investment in the for-profit carceral industry. As states across the country enact legislation to reverse mass incarceration, private prison corporations have adapted their business models to monetize community based supervision services as an alternate source of revenue. In order to boost profits, the industry has aggressively lobbied local policymakers to adopt unnecessary and inhumane post release corrections practices, including electronic monitoring. As a result, the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) directs millions of public dollars each year towards harmful privatized electronic monitoring services.
Your voice is crucial to advancing the fight for racial equity, opportunity and justice. Advocate for the change you want to see in your city, state and beyond by visiting WCRJ’s Racial Justice Online Action Center and demanding policy action of your elected officials now.