UPDATE: The Illinois Department of Corrections says a new parole proposal, would in fact bring more than 200 ex-offenders back to Rockford.
Tom Shaer, Communications Officer for IDOC, says Winnebago County currently has 202 fewer parolees living there than it would under this proposed legislation.
State Rep. John Cabello introduced the new parole proposal today. It would force parolees back to their home county upon their release. This comes nearly a year after two men from Peoria and Chicago were arrested for a string of burglaries along Broadway. Rockford police say they don't want out of town criminals causing more trouble in our area.
Right now, 465 parolees first sent to prison from Winnebago and currently not living/paroled in Winnebago County, According to the IDOC.
The IDOC says, 263 parolees are living/paroled in Winnebago County but were not originally sent to prison from there.
Lieutenant Pat Hoey says parolees need a positive support system as they transition back into society.
"A reason why you may not want to come back to your home town so you don't have those same bad connections, those associates that get involved in criminal activity, but you also need that family structure.to be able to come back where you have family," Hoey
The house rules committee stil has to review the proposal.
“Parolees not only from Chicago but other cities are coming here to Rockford with no ties to this community and causing havoc.”
Lieutenant Hoey says sometimes it’s difficult for ex-offenders to turn their lives around, especially in a new city.
“You also need that family structure to be able to come back where you have family, where you have friends, where they can help mentor you and keep you on the right track.”
That’s why legislators are pushing for a new parole bill which would force parolees to go back to their home county once they’re released from prison. This comes nearly a year after two men from Chicago and Peoria were charged with a string of robberies along Broadway Street.
“We have enough challenges with the people in Rockford."
“We have to do a better job of getting people back into society once they’ve been released from prison.”
State Representative John Cabello introduced the bill earlier this year. He says communities shouldn’t have to deal with another city’s criminals, however he understands some parolees may need a fresh start somewhere else.
“Some people need to go to a different community to be able to break those ties with the gangs or whatever. We will probably amend the bill so that there might be a way to petition the department of corrections to move into a separate community,” Cabello said.
The legislation has been sent to the House Rules committee.