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 and practitioners to use. That process led to the conclusion that, although many agencies collected statistics and data about sentencing in Illinois, no agency compiled sentencing data specifically to perform comprehensive 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) .
The members of SPAC represent diverse viewpoints. SPAC members include legislators, retired judges, the Illinois Attorney General, prosecutors, defense attorneys, representatives of the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts, a victim advocate, law enforcement officials, academics, and community organizers. The directors of the Illinois State Police, Department of Corrections, Prisoner Review Board, and Criminal 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:
- Prescribe sanctions proportionate to the seriousness of the offenses and permit the recognition of differences in rehabilitation possibilities among individual offenders.
- Prevent the commission of offenses.
- Prevent arbitrary or oppressive treatment of persons adjudicated offenders or delinquents.
- Restore offenders to useful citizenship.
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.