Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Some good news: 6 Young Men, Given Adult Sentences for “Minor” Infractions, Are Freed in Illinois

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Duaa Eldeib reports in ProPublica:

Six young men who had been sentenced to lengthy adult prison terms for committing what were described as minor infractions at a southern Illinois youth correctional facility went free Friday after outgoing Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, in an unannounced move, commuted their sentences.

The young men, whose cases were documented in a ProPublica Illinois investigation last year, had only learned they would be released the day before. By Friday afternoon, all had walked out of the prisons where they were being held.

“It feels good to be out,” Kaleb Martin said in a phone call, after leaving the Pinckneyville Correctional Center in southern Illinois, where he was met by his sister. Martin had been sentenced to six years in adult prison for biting a guard he claimed put him in a chokehold that blocked his breathing.

He and the other five young men had been imprisoned for assaulting guards or other employees at the Illinois Youth Center at Harrisburg, though internal Department of Juvenile Justice records described some of the incidents as “minor.” Juvenile justice advocates and some state officials criticized Harrisburg officials for pressing charges, saying the incidents, which included biting, striking or spitting on workers, typically would have been handled through internal discipline.

“On the one hand, today is a real victory for justice. I am thrilled that these young men are getting out early,” said Jennifer Vollen-Katz, executive director of the prison watchdog group John Howard Association. “On the other hand, the fact that it came to this is really unfortunate. The system failure that led to these young men being in adult state custody is enormous.”

The commutations were not publicly announced by the governor’s office. A spokeswoman for Rauner, who has made criminal justice reform a key initiative, declined a request for comment.

After Martin’s sister, Brittany, picked him up, he met his 2-year-old niece and 5-year-old nephew for the first time, and the family drove to her home in Peoria. . .

Continue reading. There’s much more, not all of it good.

Written by LeisureGuy

31 December 2018 at 12:20 pm

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