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October 27, 2006

Illinois Department of Corrections to increase monitoring of paroled sex offenders on Halloween

SPRINGFIELD--With Halloween approaching, the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) is increasing its surveillance of paroled sex offenders on Halloween in a program entitled Operation Safe Spirits.  For the second year, the agency will be working with local law enforcement throughout the state in the monitoring of sex offenders on Halloween.
“The Illinois Department of Corrections is serious about monitoring sex offenders,” said IDOC Director Roger E. Walker Jr.  “The agency is dedicated to improving public safety and helping to ensure families have a safe and enjoyable Halloween.”
Walker stated that on Halloween and throughout the year, IDOC will continue its efforts to improve community safety through Governor Blagojevich’s Sex Offender Initiative, which includes a specially trained sex offender supervision unit to highly supervise sex offenders on parole and through the building of partnerships statewide to improve the safety of all families in Illinois.
On the days leading up to and on Halloween, IDOC will be conducting face-to-face contacts and spot checks with the state’s 1,100 paroled sex offenders.  All paroled sex offenders are on electronic or GPS (Global Positioning System) monitoring and have been served with requirements of their parole.  Conditions include that they do not go outside on Halloween, dress in costume, have their porch lights on or pass out candy to trick-or-treaters.  Paroled sex offenders not meeting these conditions could be returned to prison.
Recent laws signed into legislation have tightened restriction of sex offenders.  House Bill 121, which went into effect in July 2005, prevents sex offenders from preying on children during the holidays.  The law provides that as a condition of probation, conditional discharge, parole, or mandatory supervised release, a sex offender may not participate in a holiday event involving children under 18 years of age, such as handing out candy on Halloween, wearing a Santa Claus costume on or preceding Christmas, being employed as a department store Santa Claus, or wearing an Easter Bunny costume on or preceding Easter.
“Public safety is at the forefront of the agency’s operations in the monitoring and supervision of paroled sex offenders.  However, it is still important for all parents to educate themselves with information regarding the locations of registered sex offenders,” Walker said.
The Illinois State Police sex offender registry is available online at www.isp.state.il.us.  To learn more about the Illinois Department of Corrections, visit its website at www.idoc.state.il.us


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