Having to go through the criminal justice system is a confusing experience for most people. One of the most confusing aspects of the process is determining how much credit a defendant has gotten or will get based on the offense they have plead guilty or were found guilty of. What percentage of an actual sentence a defendant receives is commonly called Truth in Sentencing.
The Illinois truth in sentencing law, under 730 ILCS 5/3-6-3(a)(2) contains five categories of offenses. Based on the category of offense for which an inmate is sentenced, he or she will serve 100 percent, 85 percent, 50 percent, or 75 percent of the sentence imposed.
Matters of early release and special credits (drug, education, trade & special merit) are not addressed as they are subject to IDOC’s discretion.
Category One- 100 percent 730 ILCS 5/3-6-3(a) (2) (i)
In 1998, the law eliminated all credits for prisoners convicted of first degree murder.
Effective December 5, 2002, added the offense of terrorism to this category.
Category Two -Automatic 85 percent 730 ILCS 5/3-6-3 (a) (2) (ii)
A prisoner serving a sentence for selected “violent” offenses receives no more than 4.5 days good conduct credit for each month of his or her sentence of imprisonment.
This amounts to about 85 percent of the sentence imposed. Offenses included in the original 1998 law include:
- attempt to commit first murder
- solicitation of murder
- aggravated battery with a firearm
- solicitation of murder for hire
- heinous battery
- intentional homicide of an unborn child
- aggravated battery of a senior citizen
- predatory criminal sexual assault of a child
- aggravated battery of a child
- aggravated criminal sexual assault
- criminal sexual assault
- armed habitual criminal
- reckless homicide [DUI], modified to aggravated DUI/death, effective July 18, 2003
- aggravated battery with a machine gun/silenced firearm & aggravated discharge of a machine gun/silenced firearm, effective July 15, 1999
- aggravated arson, effective July 27, 2001
- any aggravated discharge of a firearm, effective June 23, 2005
- armed habitual criminal, effective August 2, 2005
- child luring (2d conviction)
- Aggravated DUI/permanent disability
- Agg Domestic Battery
- Attempted Terrorism
Category Three- Contingent 85 percent 730 ILCS 5/3-6-3(a) (2) (iii):
Requires judicial finding of great bodily harm
Some offenses may trigger the 85 percent requirement depending on whether the judge has made and entered a finding that the conduct leading to conviction for the enumerated offense resulted in great body harm to the victim. 730 ILCS 5/5-5-2(c-1).
These offenses originally included:
- home invasion
- aggravated vehicular hijacking
- armed robbery
- aggravated discharge of a firearm (not deleted by P.A 94-071, eff. 6-23-05)
- armed violence (category 1 or 2 )
Category Four- Day for Day continues 730 ILCS 5/3-6-3(a) (2.1)
Non-enumerated offenses retain eligibility for service of 50 percent of the sentence.
Category Five- Automatic 75 percent 730 ILCS 5/3-6-3(a) (2) (v)
A prisoner serving a sentence for selected drug and weapon offenses committed after August 13, 2007 receives no more than 7.5 days good conduct credit for each month of his or her sentence of imprisonment. This amounts to 75 percent of the sentence imposed.
If you or a loved one has been arrested for drug offenses, gun offenses or other state or federal offenses you need to be advised as to your rights and opportunities under the law.