Illinois Department of Corrections audit shows lack of sex offender oversight

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(The Center Square) – An Illinois Auditor General report shows that the Illinois Department of Corrections has failed to keep other law enforcement agencies current on sex offenders in their towns.

The compliance audit looks at IDOC for two years ending June 30, 2022. In total, there were 46 findings and 40 repeat findings. The findings include a failure to notify victims and local law enforcement after releasing sex offenders, including those who committed a predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, aggravated criminal sexual assault, criminal sexual assault, certain offenses of aggravated child pornography or manufacture or dissemination of child pornography.

“During the examination period, the Department did not submit the required progress reports to the chief of police or sheriff in the municipality or county where the offender resides and is registered,” the report said.

State Rep. Dan Caulkins, R-Decatur, called the findings “disgraceful.”

“You would think that you would want the people in that community to know that somebody is being released back into the general population,” Caulkins told The Center Square. “I mean, this is just absolutely disgraceful.”

The Illinois Auditor General has found issues at several state-run agencies, including the Department of Health and Human Services, the State Board of Education and the Department of Public Health, among others.

Caulkins told The Center Square repeat audit findings calls into question Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s priorities.

“This administration is focused on all the wrong things. It’s focused on social issues and equity and diversity and green energy, and they are ignoring basics like public safety and compliance,” Caulkins said. “I don’t know that he cares that the Department of Corrections didn’t notify communities when they were releasing folks back into them.”

In July, Pritzker, who has been governor since 2019, responded to regular audits of various state agencies with findings and repeat findings, saying his administration is “addressing each one of those things.”

“A lot of those have to do with mismatches between the law that were passed some years ago and the way that business is done today just in general, we’ve brought more efficiencies to a process that don’t require certain records to be kept and yet the law still says ‘you’ve got to provide a record.’ Well you can’t provide a record for something that you’re not doing because you don’t need to anymore because you’ve got computers and other modern conveniences to make it easier,” Pritzker said. “I wouldn’t look at the number or repetition of those so much. We do look to see what are the news ones that we’ve found that do need to be addressed.”

The IDOC audit said IDOC agreed with the auditor’s findings and will be working to address the issues. However, Caulkins is calling for a more severe response.

“Heads should roll. People should be gone,” Caulkins said. “We need to clean this state up because we got layers and layers of incompetency.”

Other audit findings included a need for more training for its employees. The findings show that 22% of employees tested did not complete the fiscal year 2022 minimum in-service training hours. Eight employees needed more documentation of in-service training during the fiscal year, and the other employees fell short by 13 to 39.5 training hours. Ten percent of newly hired employees tested completed ethics training 127 days late, and 2% of employees tested did not finish the 2021 sexual harassment training.

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