Illinois Impact Incarceration Programs

The Law – 720 ILCS 5/5-8-1.1 and 1.2

Illinois law provides an opportunity for those individuals committed to state prison or county jail to rehabilitate themselves without the need of serving out the complete term of their prison or jail sentence. This is done through Impact Incarceration Programs (more commonly known as “boot camps”). Many county jails (including Cook County) and the Illinois Department of Corrections offer boot camp programs. With boot camp, inmates are subject to a vigorous military style program aimed at rehabilitating them and forming them into more productive members of society. These programs generally include physical training and labor, military style formation and drills, education and counseling.

The boot camp programs generally last four months (if the boot camp is run by the Illinois Department of Corrections) to five months (if run by a county jail). With IDOC boot camp, if the individual successfully completes the program, they will be discharged from prison and will be placed on parole. With Cook County jail boot camp, a defendant does not actually receive a jail term unless they do not successfully complete the program.

It is important to note that a Court can only make a recommendation that a defendant be admitted into the boot camp program and cannot order a state prison or county jail into admitting a defendant into their program. With boot camp, it is the state penitentiary and the county jail that has the final decision in determining whether or not to admit an inmate and it does so after an interview of the individual and a review of their criminal history.

Additionally, there are statutory requirements that must be met before the individual can even be considered for boot camp, whether it be on the state level or county level. In order to be eligible for consideration of IDOC boot camp, an inmate must:

  • Be between 17 and 35 years old
  • Have never previously participated in boot camp
  • Have never previously served more than one prior sentence in prison for a felony in an adult correctional facility
  • Have not been convicted of the following offenses:
  • Have not been sentenced to a term of imprisonment over 8 years
  • Be physically able to participate in strenuous activities.

With Cook County Boot Camp, the inmate must:

  • Be between 17 and 35 years old
  • Have never previously participated in boot camp
  • Have never previously served more than one prior sentence in prison for a felony in an adult correctional facility
  • Have not been convicted of the following offenses:
  • Have been found in violation of probation for a Class 2, 3 or 4 felony that is not a forcible felony or crime of violence as defined by statute, who could otherwise be sentenced to a term of imprisonment
  • Convicted of a Class 2, 3 or 4 felony that is not a forcible felony or crime of violence as defined by statute and has previously served a term of probation
  • Be physically able to participate in strenuous activities
  • Not have any mental disability that would prevent participation in boot camp.

Boot camp offers an extraordinary opportunity to avoid lengthy prison or jail terms, especially for those who have minimal to no prior criminal history. While in boot camp, the inmate will still be allowed many of the benefits that they would be allowed if not in boot camp, including visitation and commissary privileges. However, because the final determination of accepting an individual lies solely with the Department of Corrections running the camp, there is a great amount of unknowns and persuading a Court to recommend boot camp is only half the battle.

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James A. Payonk, Jr.

~ Attorney at Law ~

10705 W 159th St.
Orland Park, Illinois 60467

(708) 633-6005