Parole and Pardon Board - RG 403 | Illinois State Archives
Prior to the creation of the State Board of Pardons in 1897 (L. 1897, p. 272), all parole activity was handled by the Commissioners of the Penitentiary, while applications for executive clemency went directly of the Office of the Governor.
The new three-member board, appointed by the Governor, assumed the administration of the state's parole acts, the first of which was enacted in 1895 (L. 1895, p. 158). The board usually met monthly to investigate and make decisions on parole applications from inmates of the penitentiaries at Joliet and Chester. The board's responsibilities encompassed the setting of conditions under which parole could be granted, the granting of parole, and the determining of parole violations.
In order to assist the Governor in handling applications for executive clemency the board further was empowered to regulate the manner of applying for executive clemency, to conduct hearings on all applications, and to make reports and recommendations to the Governor on every case. In this area the board functioned solely in an advisory and review capacity; its authority in no way limited the constitutional power of the Governor to act in executive clemency cases.
The State Board of Pardons was abolished in 1917 and its paroling and pardoning responsibilities were transferred to the Division of Pardons and Paroles in the Department of Public Welfare (L. 1917, p. 2). At that time the division's parole jurisdiction expanded to include inmates of all correctional institutions in the state. While operating in the Department of Public Welfare the Parole and Pardon Board varied in size from seven to nine members.
As part of the consolidation of all state law enforcement agencies all powers and duties formerly vested in the Parole and Pardon Board of the Department of Public Welfare were transferred to the Division of Correction in the Department of Public Safety in 1941 (L. 1941. vol. 1, p. 1214). This division, composed of five to seven members appointed by the Governor, continued to operate until the Department of Public Safety was abolished in 1970.
At that time the Parole and Pardon Board became a separate division in the newly created Department of Corrections (P.A. 76-436, p. 1004). Currently the board is composed of ten members and continues to act as the paroling authority for the Adult and Juvenile Divisions of the Department of Corrections and advises the Governor on executive clemency cases.
Listed below are all correctional institutions for which Parole and Pardon Board records currently are held. Since records often span years in which institutional names changed, name variations also have been noted. Current names are printed in capital letters.
1860-1933 Illinois State Penitentiary
1919 Stateville section opened
1933-1973 Illinois State Penitentiary (Joliet/Stateville Branch)
1973- JOLIET CORRECTIONAL CENTER
1973- STATEVILLE CORRECTIONAL CENTER
1867-1933 Southern Illinois Penitentiary at Chester
1933-1973 Illinois State Penitentiary (Menard Branch)
1973- MENARD CORRECTIONAL CENTER
1867-1933 Illinois State Reformatory at Pontiac
1933-1973 Illinois State Penitentiary (Pontiac Branch)
1973- PONTIAC CORRECTIONAL CENTER
1917-1973 Illinois State Farm at Vandalia
1973- VANDALIA CORRECTIONAL CENTER
1927-1973 Illinois State Reformatory for Women
1973- DWIGHT CORRECTIONAL CENTER
1949-1953 Illinois State Reformatory at Sheridan
1953-1973 Illinois Industrial School for Boys
1973- SHERIDAN CORRECTIONAL CENTER</span>
1893-1901 State Home for Juvenile Female Offenders
1901-1973 Illinois State Training School for Girls at Geneva
1973- ILLINOIS YOUTH CENTER AT GENEVA
1901-1905 State Home for Delinquent Boys
1905-1939 St. Charles School for Boys
1939-1973 Illinois State Training School for Boys at St. Charles
1973- ILLINOIS YOUTH CENTER AT ST. CHARLES
Access to these records is restricted by the Freedom of Information Act (P.A. 83-1013) and the Unified Code of Corrections (Ill. Rev. Stat., ch. 38).