SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced more than 14,781 parolees were returned to prison in FY01 as a result of the revitalized parole operation, including "Operation Windy City," which is a joint effort between the Illinois Department of Corrections and the Chicago Police Department. This marked a significant increase from the 8,150 parolees returned in FY00 and the 7,076 in FY99.
To date, Operation Windy City has resulted in more than 340 parolees being returned to prison for violations of their parole, while 27 others were charged with a new crime. In all, more than 1,500 face-to-face contacts with parolees have been conducted. Nearly 1,000 parolees were tested for drug use--the 559 who tested positive face tougher conditions of parole or a return to state prison.
“As a result of the new parole initiatives, we now have 370 parole agents actively supervising more than 29,000 adult and juvenile parolees across the state,” Governor Ryan said. “The safety of all Illinois citizens is increased because agents can now monitor parolees more effectively, including in their homes and at their jobs.”
A statewide reorganization ordered by the Governor, and supervised by Illinois Department of Corrections Director Donald Snyder, actually increased the number of
parole agents out on the street by 350 percent. Fewer than 100 agents were out working in the community under the old parole monitoring system. Under the new parole operation, all agents patrol the streets while monitoring their caseload each workday.
The number of parole agents increased 101 percent over those employed in Fiscal Year 1998. Consequently, caseloads have been reduced from 175 per agent in FY98 to 79 at the end of FY01.
During 33 operations spanning 13 months, several teams consisting of two Chicago Police Officers, two parole agents and a highly trained DOC Special Weapons Team member visited the homes of parolees in specific Chicago neighborhoods. If at home, parolees are transported to the Chicago Police building at Homan Square where they are given a drug test and interviewed by police detectives and parole agents as to their activities on the street. If not available, follow up is conducted by parole agents at a later date.
“The Chicago Police Department is grateful for the contribution of Corrections Parole Agents and Special Weapons Team members during numerous Windy City operations during the last year. The teamwork demonstrated by CPD Officers and the DOC personnel have contributed greatly to the safety of Chicago citizens in many city neighborhoods,” said Chicago Police Superintendent Terry Hillard.
Governor Ryan and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley began Operation Windy City in response to the shooting deaths of several children in Chicago in July 2000. Miguel DeLa Rosa was a 12-year-old boy who was gunned down as he rode his bicycle home from a softball game; Tsarina Powell, another 12-year-old, was killed when gang members sprayed her home with bullets as she slept in her bed; and two Cicero boys-- Mark Lopez and Ruben Pulido--were shot by gang members while sitting on the front porch of their home.
The revitalized operations also allow better monitoring of programs to ensure parolees are attending designated substance abuse treatment programs and providing more assistance in locating employment and housing. New guidelines, legislation and conditions for parole that were developed as a result of the Operation will take effect in January 2002.
Future of the Statewide Parole Initiative
- New legislation enacted providing for enhanced conditions of parole will be effective January 2002. The conditions for release for every parolee will require that they:
- Permit an agent to visit him at his home, employment or elsewhere to the extent necessary for the agent to discharge his duties.
- Consent to a search of his or her person, residence or property under his control;
- Submit to a urinalysis test as instructed by a parole agent;
- Not frequent places where controlled substances are illegally sold, used, distributed, or administered;
- Not knowingly associate with other persons on parole without written permission of an agent and not associate with persons who are members of an organized gang.
- The Department recently joined forces with the Illinois Department of Human Services, Illinois Investment Work Board and their Chicago counterparts in applying for a grant that would provide additional assistance and support for youthful offenders released to the community.
- The creation of the Automated Receiving and Classification System (ARC) allows for better tracking of all parolees returned to IDOC with respect to their activity while on parole. Previously, the tracking was done manually and was not as detailed as the new system. Specifically, ARC is designed to track parolee’s employment, gang involvement, parole agent contact and program participation while on parole.
- Through the development of a statistical database, agents and supervisors are held accountable for monitoring parolees according to established criteria. Ongoing review of these statistics ensures that department expectations are consistently met.