Press May Influence Decisions on Parole `Media Sensitivity' a Factor

Article excerpt

Media scrutiny can be a factor when Illinois' Corrections Department decides whether to revoke parole for a convict accused of a new crime, a spokesman said this week.

"Media attention will not be the overriding factor that sends a guy back to prison. It may be one factor that would be involved in the overall mix," Corrections Department spokesman Nic Howell said Tuesday.

A 1994 Illinois Department of Corrections memo lists 18 types of crimes - including murder, all sex crimes, stalking and domestic battery - for which an arrest triggers revocation of parole. Parole also can be revoked for an arrest on other crimes, based on considerations including media sensitivity, past criminal history or violence, the memo stated.

At a news conference Tuesday, State Rep. Jay Hoffman, D-Collinsville, said that policy implies parole is revoked in high-publicity cases but not in cases that slip the media's notice.

"Press clippings should not determine the criminal policy of this state," he said. …