Sen. Ram Villivalam

SPRINGFIELD — State Senator Ram Villivalam helped lead a measure that makes changes to the Prisoner Review Board to further their training and resources when reviewing parole release decisions.

“It is imperative that we prioritize the safety of our communities while also making sure that individuals who are set to be released have been fully rehabilitated,” said Villivalam (D-Chicago). “By addressing necessary changes to the Prisoner Review Board, we are only ensuring that the system works for everyone as a whole.”

In response to a domestic violence incident that occurred after the Prisoner Review Board released a man on parole, the measure helps ensure the safety and attention to detail in regards to cases of domestic and gender-based violence.

This measure would require those on the PRB to undergo additional training to further their learning and understanding of domestic violence and gender-based violence. Additionally, it would require the board to inform and provide victims, including those with protective orders, with information regarding submitting a victim impact statement. Further, it would require the board to consider every impact statement that is submitted.

The board would also have to provide victims with notices regarding releases, revocation hearings and supervised release.

Additionally, the measure would create the Prisoner Review Board Task Force to study the notification process, victim involvement in hearings, victim safety planning, board member qualifications and specialized trainings for the board members and judiciary.

“This measure supports the board by equipping them with the necessary tools and training to make informed decisions,” said Villivalam. “Our community was recently struck with immense tragedy, and it is imperative that we work to fix the system to ensure a case like this never happens again.”

House Bill 681 passed the Senate on Sunday.