ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — From murder to domestic battery, more than one hundred inmates who committed crimes in Winnebago County have been released from prison. The releases are part of Governor Pritzker’s efforts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Many had their sentences commuted or were granted medical furlough. Winnebago County State’s Attorney Marilyn Hite-Ross said that some inmates are being let out so quickly that she doesn’t have proper time to inform victims, as is required by the Rights of Crime Victim’s Act and the Illinois Constitution.
She expressed her opposition against the governor’s decision in a press release on Monday, saying in part:
The lack of appropriate notice to my office regarding the early release of these individuals hinders my ability to notify victims and family members in a timely manner. As Winnebago County State’s Attorney, I will continue to oppose the early release and furlough of violent offenders back into the Winnebago County community.”State’s Attorney Marilyn Hite-Ross
To view the entire list of inmates who were released early, click here.
Hite Ross says her office was basically blindsided by the list of criminals out on parole, so much so, they didn’t even have a chance to tell some of the victim’s family members until some felons were already home.
That includes, Brad Berogan’s mother Diane. Berogan was a high school senior when he was shot and killed by Brian Harrington in 2007. Harrington is now back home.
Hite Ross says she wasn’t aware Harrington was going to receive early release until he was already out. Diane says she’s devastated by the news and expected her son’s killer to serve a full sentence. She is also trying to put all the pieces together on the anniversary of Brad’s death.
Right now the State’s Attorney’s office is trying to determine, case by case, whether theses violent offenders are being released due to COVID-19. Our law enforcement is joining with other agencies across the state demanding answers. They say they were told only “non-violent” offenders would be released early, not murderers.
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