By Shari Stone-Mediatore
On Thursday, November 8, 2018, the Illinois state legislature held a public hearing to discuss the issue of bringing a system of parole to Illinois. This was a subject-matter-only hearing. However, by January, Representative Rita Mayfield plans to have parole legislation ready to present and will hold another hearing to discuss that legislation.
In her introduction, Representative Mayfield indicated that she only learned there was no system of discretionary parole in Illinois during a public debate delivered by the Stateville Debate Team.
Representative Mayfield did an excellent job of chairing the hearing. Unfortunately, only a few legislators attended (probably because people are recovering from the activities of the recent election). Nonetheless, Representative Mayfield, along with co-chairs Representative LaShawn Ford and Representative Art Turner, effectively moderated the panels and asked pointed questions. Another legislator and staff-person listened attentively.
We filled the room with about 30 advocates for parole from all walks of life. We had plenty of people prepared to speak on behalf of parole; however, a few minutes before the hearing began, the legislators informed us that only 5 people would be able to present testimony on behalf of parole. Continue reading “The Push for Parole”