SPRINGFIELD, IL - Legislation sponsored by Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) mandating that criminals convicted of attempting to commit terrorism spend more of their sentences behind bars has been signed into law by the governor.

Inspired by the case of a Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) student convicted of attempting to make a terroristic threat, House Bill 5121 limits the amount of “good-conduct” credit that can be earned by an individual sentenced for such a heinous crime.

“The punishment needs to fit the crime for these types of very serious threats,” Senator Haine said. “The individuals who commit these crimes should be treated like mass murderers.”

Currently, a prisoner receives one day of good-conduct credit for each day served in prison. Each day of good conduct credit reduces the prisoner’s sentence by one day. In the case of the SIUE student, he was sentenced to a five-year prison term, but required to serve half of the sentence. Haine’s
legislation only allows these types of prisoners’ to receive a maximum of 4.5 days of good-conduct credit each month, ensuring they serve at least 85 percent of their sentence.

“This bill is intended to make sure prisoners sentenced for attempted terrorism serve the majority of their term, which is the case with attempted first degree murder,” Haine added.

House Bill 5121, which passed both legislative chambers unanimously, has an effective date of January 1, 2013.

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