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Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
Former Cook County Felony Prosecutor

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Felony Charges? Learn About Illinois’ Impact Incarceration Program

Boot camp is a training style that expands beyond those joining the military. In Illinois, eligible offenders can participate in the Illinois Impact Incarceration Program, frequently described as such, in exchange for a reduced sentence.

This program is unique and there’s a lot to understand about it, namely who it’s an option for and how it works. Read on to find out all you need to know about the Impact Incarceration Program for convicted felony offenders.

What is the Illinois Impact Incarceration Program?

The Illinois Impact Incarceration Program is run by the Illinois Department of Corrections. It allows offenders who are eligible and have been sentenced to prison for their crimes the opportunity to reduce the amount of time they serve.

It’s often called boot camp because it is run exactly the way you’d imagine a  military-style boot camp to be. Many offenders that enter the program do so because they are unable to get probation for their crimes for a variety of reasons and are instead sentenced to prison.

This program is a 120-day camp that allows participants who complete it successfully to go home in around six months rather than serving the entire sentence they were originally supposed to serve within the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Who Is Eligible for the Impact Incarceration Program in Illinois?

There are several factors that play into whether or not someone is eligible for the Impact Incarceration Program in Illinois.

If this boot camp is an option you’d like to consider, then it’s important to meet with an experienced Illinois lawyer to determine if your possible convictions fit into the parameters of the program.

In general, you may be eligible for this program if:

  • You are under the age of 35
  • You have not been convicted of any Class X offenses or other crimes of violence, such as sexual assault, armed violence, and aggravated kidnapping
  • You are mentally and physically fit
  • You may not have previously served more than one felony conviction in prison
  • You may not have attempted an impact incarceration program in the past
  • Your sentence does not exceed eight years

The Department of Corrections will also consider whether you have any outstanding warrants or detainers, whether you have a history of absconding or escaping, and whether you participating in the program poses a risk to the security or safety of another person. There also must be space available for you in the program.

Additional Illinois Program Requirements

Who Is Eligible for the Impact Incarceration Program in Illinois?

 

It’s important to understand that when you enter the Illinois Department of Corrections, you have a “recommendation” from the judge that you be admitted to the Impact Incarceration Program. The final approval lies with the Illinois Department of Corrections for your placement in the program, however.

It’s not common for someone who has been recommended for the program not to be admitted, but it can happen. Plus, if you fail to successfully complete the program, you will be expected to complete your entire prison sentence with the Department of Corrections.

In 2020 there was a new provision placed into the law that requires a pre-sentence report to the judge. Prior to sentencing, the defendant’s eligibility for the program. So make sure your attorney takes care of that for you.

What is Involved in the Program?

The Illinois Department of Corrections operates one juvenile boot camp program and two adult boot camp programs. The adult programs run from Dixon Springs and DuQuoin State Fairground.

Which boot camp the inmate is sent to depends on where the Department of Corrections deems appropriate, often based on the nature of the crimes they are serving a sentence for. The DOC also takes into consideration whether the inmate I mentally and physically fit enough to handle the 120-day camp.

The Impact Incarceration Program includes, among other things, mandatory physical labor and physical training, military drills and formations, uniformity of appearance and dress with the other inmates in the program, regimented activities, counseling, education, and drug counseling when needed.

The program also affords participants with certain privileges such as visitation, access to radio and television, access to the library, the retention and receipt of publications and property, and commissary privileges. Failing to meet the requirements of the program at any point can result in removal from the program or make you ineligible to participate.

Chicago Criminal Defense

The Illinois Impact Incarceration Program is a great thing and has had great results for many people who have completed it. It can help reduce your exposure to a lengthy prison sentence and help you to learn some discipline in the process. Make sure to understand if you’re eligible for it before you’re sentenced for a crime.

 

 

About the Author:

Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience in handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, murder, and drug crimes. His work has been recognized by Avvo, Expertise, National Trial Lawyers, and others, and he has been featured on countless news outlets for his experience and knowledge in criminal law.

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