On Friday, November 22 State Senator Bill Brady announced that he would introduce legislation to address situations in which hundreds of violent felons in Cook County have been improperly sent to boot camp instead of prison as mandated by state law.
“Boot camp is an option reserved specifically for non-violent offenders,” said Brady. “There is no reason that a person convicted of a class X crime should be entered in that program. My legislation will make sure that we are vigilant about only allowing non-violent offenders to be sentenced to boot camp.”
A recent report from the Chicago Sun Times revealed that since 2006 hundreds of improper boot camp sentences have been handed to violent criminals. Illinois law allows young men between the ages of 17 and 35 who have been convicted of nonviolent crimes to be entered into a boot camp program instead of being sent to prison. However, state law prohibits boot camp for forcible felonies and class X crimes. The Sun Times reported that many of the violent offenders who had been given the lighter boot camp sentence, went on to become repeat offenders one even having been charged with murder.
Brady’s legislation will amend the county impact incarceration statute to require Cook County Judges, the Cook County State’s Attorney, and Cook County Sheriff to certify in writing that the person sentenced to boot camp is a non violent offender and meets eligibility requirements. If passed the legislation will be effective immediately upon becoming law.