Illinois Senate Republican leader critical of continued parole board vacancies


(The Center Square) – Pending Illinois Senate confirmation, there’s a new executive director for the Illinois Prisoner Review Board. But, there are still other vacancies on the board.

A leading Republican in the Illinois Senate says more needs to be done to bring transparency to the PRB.

Last month, a member of the PRB resigned when it was revealed a recent parolee was accused of stabbing a pregnant woman and killing an 11-year-old child. Later that same day, the executive director of the PRB also resigned.

“I think that the changes that are necessary here are evident in the fact that the panel didn’t take into consideration enough the domestic violence history of this particular prisoner, and the fact that there were reports by the victim of that person … knocking at her door, being around her apartment building, etcetera,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said last month.

Weeks later, Pritzker appointed a new executive director in James Montgomery.

“This new leadership position will be responsible for overseeing administrative board operations, including the facilitation of additional domestic violence prevention training and other important equity-based trainings for board members,” Pritzker’s office said in a statement Monday. “The creation of the executive director position reduces the workload placed on the PRB chair and allows for the chair to focus more closely on leading casework.”

Illinois Senate Minority Leader John Curran, R-Downers Grove, said much remains unknown about the case behind the recent shakeup.

“We need a full transparent accounting here of what occurred and we have not gotten that yet from the governor,” Curran told The Center Square. “The governor should also be leading on actually reforming and raising the standards at this board.”

There are other vacancies Pritzker needs to address, Curran said.

“Right now, he is leaving vacant four positions that are, that have to be non-Democrats and he is artificially weighting this board towards his favor, what he wants to see which is more releases, a higher release rate and obviously we’re seeing some pretty bad results because of that,” Curran said.

On the PRB now, are seven members with Democrat affiliations, three with Republican affiliations and one with Independent affiliation. There are four listed vacancies on the board.

Board members get nearly $97,000 a year. The chairperson gets nearly $108,200 a year.

Catrina Petersen contributed to this report.

Submit a Comment