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Pritzker signs law allowing early release for medically incapacitated or terminally ill inmates

Prison Healthcare

(WSIL) -- Governor JB Pritzker signed legislation Friday that creates a path for the compassionate release of medically incapacitated individuals by the Prison Review Board (PRB).

House Bill 3665, also known as the Joe Coleman Medical Release Act, allows for the discretionary early release of those who are medically incapacitated or terminally ill and serving time in an Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) facility.

“By signing the Joe Coleman Medical Release Act into law, it’s my intention to honor Joe Coleman’s legacy as a father, as a veteran, as a man who spent his days raising funds for charity from behind bars,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Thanks to the many advocates and General Assembly sponsors Senator John Connor and Representative Will Guzzardi, more families will get to say goodbye to their loved ones the way we all hope to get to when the time comes: together. This is another step toward the world, the Illinois, our families deserve. And I’m proud to turn it into law today.”

Currently, the Prisoner Review Board (PRB) determines conditions of parole and notifies victims and families when an inmate will be released from custody. The board also makes recommendations for clemency petitions to the Governor.

This legislation gives the PRB the authority to grant or deny a prisoner early release based on their medical incapacity or terminal illness. In cases of medical incapacity, individuals may not be terminally ill, but in a state that renders them no longer a threat to the community. This can include circumstances where an individual may be non-ambulatory due to a spinal injury.

HB 3665 is effective January 1, 2022.

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