Illinois legislator tells prison agency ‘do your job’ on sex offender notification

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(The Center Square) – A Republican state legislator says she has no interest in the idea of changing the state’s sex offender notification system that was the subject of a recent audit finding with the Illinois Department of Corrections.

The compliance audit released last week 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.

In response, IDOC told auditors they did not send the semi-annual progress reports for sex offenders under extended supervision because some chiefs of police and sheriffs said they did not want copies of the reports and suggested legislative changes to the process are needed.

Illinois House Minority Leader Tony McCombie, R-Savannah, said she has no interest in legislative changes.

“I don’t understand what the problem is. It is their responsibility and their mandate to report that sex offenders are getting out,” McCombie said. “I am certainly not interested in any legislative fix to remove that mandate. If that’s something they’re interested in, I’m certainly not interested in that, and I don’t think anyone in the public is.”

McCombie urged IDOC to do its job.

“It’s the job of IDOC to do so [notify law enforcement]. That’s a mandate on the agency. Do your job,” McCombie said.

The Illinois Department of Corrections didn’t immediately respond to The Center Square’s request for comment.

In 2021, Washington state made changes to its notification process that limits the amount of information that is transferred between the Department of Corrections and law enforcement. Pushback against such a notification process comes from the National Association for Rational Sexual Offense Laws, which said violence increases due to the current process.

“Very solid research validates that community notification of persons required to register on the state sex offender registry actually undermines public safety in that it increases the instability of the registered person in regard to housing, employment, and pro-social community involvement; it increases the risk to the registered person and his or her family from vigilante and harassing activities,” NASOL told The Center Square. “It creates misdirection and increases risk by focusing attention away from the much more likely source of child sexual abuse family and acquaintances, and it fails to have any effect on the rates of sexual abuse or recidivism.”

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