|The Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) and the Illinois Prisoner Review Board (PRB) today announced that a Settlement Agreement in the case of Moises Morales v. Craig Findley has been approved. The Settlement Agreement reflects Governor Bruce Rauner’s commitment to increasing public safety and improving outcomes for all men and women who are released from IDOC custody. The Rauner Administration worked with the IDOC and PRB legal teams to reach a suitable agreement, therefore avoiding costly litigation and the perpetual judicial oversight that would have resulted had the parties entered into a consent decree.
US District Judge Amy J. St. Eve accepted the agreement on Wednesday, January 25th, 2017, noting it offers fair and reasonable due process for men and women accused of violating the terms of their parole or Mandatory Supervised Release (MSR). Morales v. Findley was originally filed in 2013 by IDOC offenders who claimed they did not have a proper hearing or the ability to provide adequate testimony before being returned to prison on a parole or MSR revocation.
“We are working very closely with Governor Rauner to bring real reform to our criminal justice system in Illinois,” said IDOC Director John Baldwin. “This agreement restores integrity to the parole revocation process and ensures potential violators have fair representation and a voice in the process.”
“We are committed to making sure all potential parole and MSR violators get a fair hearing before decisions about revocation are made,” said PRB Chairman Craig Findley. “The PRB looks forward to working with the IDOC to implement the procedures set forth in the Morales Settlement Agreement as we continue to set and enforce conditions of release for all Illinois offenders.”
The IDOC will continue to handle parole and MSR operations in the field, including the identification and arrest of alleged violators, and provide evidence of violations to the PRB. Hearings will be conducted in IDOC facilities, PRB offices, and county jails throughout every region in the State.
Under the terms of the Agreement:
· The PRB will appoint an attorney, at no cost, to alleged violators who cannot afford representation but request an attorney, in cases where: a timely and colorable claim exists that the violation did not occur; a violation is admitted to have occurred, but complex and substantial reasons exist to argue against revocation; or the alleged violator appears incapable of speaking effectively for him or herself.
· The attorney will represent the alleged violator for the duration of the revocation process and will have an opportunity to present evidence, call witnesses, and cross-examine witnesses.
· Alleged parole/MSR violators will be informed of their right to remain silent, without obligation to answer questions about the alleged violation, if the violation relates to potential criminal charges.
· The IDOC will provide the alleged violator with a Notice of Rights and a copy of his or her violation report, outlining the underlying charges for possible revocation, within 5 days of a warrant being served.
· The IDOC and PRB must make reasonable efforts to ensure the alleged violator receives a preliminary hearing within 10 business days of the warrant being served and a final hearing within 90 days of service.