Incarcerated people in Illinois haven’t had the ability to get onto parole since the ‘70s.
But a bill in Springfield (SB2333) is working to bring it back, providing parole hearings for inmates who’ve served at least 20 years in prison with. Advocates say parole eligibility could provide hope for inmates serving lengthy sentences.
Supporters, including Chance the Rapper and Common, held a news conference Wednesday.
“Today we restored hope,” said Kevin Blumenberg, a lead organizer with Parole Illinois. “I got phone calls from jail that they thought it was the Super Bowl game where they scored a win.”
Tyrone Muhammad, executive director with Ex-cons for Community and Social Change, has been pushing for parole to be reinstated since the time he was incarcerated.
“It was inherent to me that this system needed some overhaul,” Muhammad said. “Because it never truly talked about reform.”
Blumenberg said having no possibility of parole can leave those incarcerated without hope.
“You’re going into a situation where you feel like there’s no way out, it’s going to weigh heavy on your heart,” Blumenberg said.
He said that if the bill passes, it will show incarcerated people that they do deserve a second chance.