031022CM0382SPRINGFIELD – People reentering society after being released from the Illinois Department of Corrections facilities should have access to documents regarding their time committed. State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago) championed legislation to allow incarcerated individuals to request a summary of their master record.

“People should have the right to double-check their file for false or misleading information, especially if an individual is applying for clemency or other legal remedies,” said Pacione-Zayas. “As Illinois continues to commit itself to a focus on restorative justice, making sure people have the resources they need to reflect and rehabilitate is vital.”

House Bill 4559 would allow people committed to IDOC facilities to request one summary of their master record file a year. It would also allow a committed person’s attorney an additional request of the summary of the master file annually.

The summary must be made available within 15 days of the request and must include the person’s name and identifying information, all digitally available information from the committing court, information on the person’s criminal history and more. Additionally, the committed person can request available records on specific disciplinary incidents and grievances filed by them throughout their time committed.

"Incarcerated people deserve basic access to the records of their stay in prison," said State Rep. Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago), House sponsor of the legislation. "This bill will help people prepare legal arguments, write resumes, and return home ready to contribute to their communities."

HB 4559 passed the Senate Thursday and now heads to the governor’s desk. 

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