Bill Would Take Unjust Imprisonment Pay Out Of Budget Process
The Illinois budget stalemate has held up compensation for people who’ve been unjustly imprisoned. But a bipartisan group of state senators took a step toward fixing that Thursday.
James Kluppelberg spent nearly 25 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. But freedom presented its own challenges.
“I had $14 and, I believe, 70-some cents on my prison account at the time,” Kluppelberg told a Senate panel. “They handed that to me, and they opened the door and they said, ‘Leave.’”
Illinois law has a complicated legal process for innocent people to receive compensation. Kluppelberg got his payment in 2014, but the lack of a budget means at least 18 more recent exonerees are still waiting.
Senate Bill 1993 would make sure those debts are paid even without a full budget. It was approved in committee with unanimous bipartisan support and now heads for a floor vote.