By Rachel Wells
Some DUI offenders could face longer prison times if legislators succeed in limiting their eligibility for good behavior time off.
Under HB 4776, prisoners convicted of aggravated driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol would accumulate no more than 4.5 days of good behavior time off for every month of incarceration. Previously, the 4.5-day limitation applied only to DUI offenders who had caused someone’s death.
“We have to provide significant and severe penalties to people who cause great bodily harm and disfigurement as well,” said the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Lou Lang, a Skokie Democrat. “[This will] strengthen our laws and be just one more tool that we can use out there in our communities to convince people that they should not get into their cars when they’re drunk.”
The measure, approved on Tuesday by the House, stems from northern suburb law enforcement recommendations, Lang said, but a recent early release controversy probably helped it gain momentum. In December, the Associated Press revealed that the Department of Corrections had released offenders, some of them convicted for violent crimes, after they’d spent only a few weeks in prison. The secret program was called Meritorious Good Time Push, or "MGT Push."
“I think, yes, the ‘MGT [Push]’ issues that are out front and center probably helped people realize that we need to do this, but I’m fairly sure that this bill would have passed anyway.” No House members voted against the bill.