The concept for the Illinois Sentencing Policy Advisory Council (SPAC) was developed by the
Criminal Law Edit,
Alignment and Reform (CLEAR) Commission. The CLEAR Commissioners studied and reorganized the
Unified Code of Corrections in an effort to make it less confusing and easier for the public
practitioners to use. That process led to the conclusion that, although many agencies
and data about sentencing in Illinois, no agency compiled sentencing data specifically to
analysis for reporting to policy makers.
SPAC was created to collect, analyze and present data from all relevant sources to more accurately determine the consequences of sentencing policy decisions and to review the effectiveness and efficiency of current sentencing policies and practices. SPAC reports directly to the Governor and the General Assembly. See 730 ILCS 5/5-8-8(f) .
These bills do three things that drive the sentenced population up: change probation eligibility on several offenses; increase the mandatory minimums for all offenses; and make these offenses subject to truth in sentencing. These changes increase the number of offenders sentenced to DOC and the length of time they spend in DOC facilities. SPAC analyzed data from the DOC admissions and exits for calendar years 2010 through 2012 to assess the fiscal impact of these sentencing policy changes had they been in effect for those years.
The members of SPAC represent diverse viewpoints. SPAC members include legislators, retired
the Illinois Attorney General, prosecutors, defense attorneys, representatives of the
Office of the Illinois Courts, a victim advocate, law enforcement officials, academics, and
The directors of the Illinois State Police, Department of Corrections, Prisoner Review Board,
Justice Information Authority serve ex officio. SPAC is chaired by the Honorable Gino DiVito.
Vice chairs are the Honorable Warren Wolfson and Senator Kwame Raoul.
The purpose of SPAC is to review sentencing policies and practices and examine how those policies and practices impact the criminal justice system as a whole in the State of Illinois. In carrying out its duties, SPAC is to be mindful of and aim to achieve the purposes of sentencing in Illinois, which are to:
SPAC continues to benefit from collaborative partnerships. In addition to representation on SPAC, both ICJIA and DOC have continued to be valuable research partners and to provide administrative support.
The primary focus of SPAC’s work this year has been on developing the methodology with which to produce the fiscal impact statements SPAC is mandated to provide.
Despite dramatic reductions in reported crime in Illinois from the early 1990s through 2009, correctional populations —including probationers, prison inmates and those on mandatory supervised release increased from fewer than 60,000 in 1985 to more than 120,000 since 1998.