Press Release

FAMM releases statement on Illinois compassionate release bill passage

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FAMM releases statement on Illinois compassionate release bill passage

SPRINGFIELD — FAMM President Kevin Ring issued the following statement after the Illinois legislature passed a bill that will allow the Prisoner Review Board to release severely ill and dying people from Illinois prisons.

“It is unfortunate that it takes a tragic situation like Joe Coleman’s to create action, but we believe this overdue reform can prevent similar tragedies in the future,” Ring said. “Providing early release to elderly and ill people who pose very little risk to public safety will allow state leaders to target more resources to programs that actually make communities safer.”

The bill is named after Coleman, who died at 81 years old of cancer in an Illinois prison while awaiting clemency. Under current law, the only avenue sick and dying incarcerated people have for release is through the rarely used executive clemency process. Only Iowa, a state with no compassionate release authority whatsoever, is worse when it comes to meaningful opportunities for release.

FAMM submitted testimony in favor of this bill in the Illinois House and Senate.

FAMM announced a second chances campaign in 2020, urging all states to create opportunities to reconsider unjust sentences, expand opportunities for compassionate release and expand clemency.

For nearly three decades, FAMM has united the voices of affected families, the formerly incarcerated, and a range of stakeholders and advocates to fight for a more fair and effective justice system. FAMM’s focus on ending a one-size-fits-all punishment structure has led to reforms to sentencing and prison policies at the state and federal level and is paving the way to programs that support rehabilitation for the 94% of all prisoners who will return to our neighborhoods one day.


FAMM is a national nonpartisan advocacy organization that promotes fair and effective criminal justice policies that safeguard taxpayer dollars and keep our communities safe. Founded in 1991, FAMM is helping transform America’s criminal justice system by uniting the voices of impacted families and individuals and elevating the issues all across the country.