Illinois is considering legislation to address the problem of parolees and sex offenders living among vulnerable elderly and mentally ill residents in state-licensed nursing homes.
Attorney General Lisa Madigan said House Bill 1465, the Vulnerable Adults Protection Act, would provide for the identification and management of convicted felons residing in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities, and provide for notification to other residents of the facilities.
In Illinois, approximately 100,000 adults reside in licensed long-term care facilities. Madigan said this population must be protected from residents who, because of their criminal history, pose a risk of harm.
However, Madigan said, the current intake process for residents of long-term care facilities fails to take into account an offenders criminal history and the corresponding risk he or she may pose to the vulnerable adults in these facilities.
HB 1465, which amends the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act and the states Code of Corrections, is sponsored in the House by Rep. James Brosnahan (D-Evergreen Park) and in the Senate by Sen. Edward Maloney (D-Chicago).
This bill would put into place common-sense measures to immediately ensure that violent offenders, including sex offenders, who seek admission to our states licensed facilities are identified and managed appropriately, Madigan said. Vulnerable adults must be protected from residents who, because of their criminal history, pose an unacceptable level of risk to these residents.
The proposed amendment to HB 1465 will bring about important and immediate change to the nursing home industry. Not only will this legislation make the environment in nursing homes safer for residents and staff, this legislation will also make the communities where these facilities are located safer places, Brosnahan said.
It has been demonstrated that this legislation is necessary to protect the elderly and the mentally ill, Maloney said. This extends to the residents of the communities in which these facilities are located.
HB 1465 would amend the Nursing Home Care Act to require that the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) create new rules, within 30 days after the bill is signed into law, providing a mechanism for the identification, risk assessment, care planning, treatment and discharge of violent offenders, including sex offenders.
Madigan said licensed facilities would be prohibited from accepting a sex offender or an offender on parole, probation or court-ordered supervision, unless the facility has complied with the new provisions. Licensed facilities also would be required to provide written notification to residents of the facility if a sex offender or parolee resides in the home.
Finally, the Act would be amended to allow access for law enforcement to residents who are sex offenders or under supervision to ensure compliance with the terms of the Sex Offender Registration Act and parole or probation conditions.
The bill also would amend the Code of Corrections to require that the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) provide critical information including sentencing orders, social investigations, evaluations, reports of disciplinary infractions and parole plans to the licensing agency when a parolee becomes a resident of a state-licensed facility during his or her parole.
IDOC also would be required to provide written notification to the police chief and sheriff of the municipality where the home is located, as well as the licensing state agency IDPH, Department on Aging or the Illinois Department of Public Aid whenever a parolee is a resident at a home in their jurisdiction or under their agency.
Madigans office also has drafted House Bill 2386, known as the Lifetime Supervision of Sex Offenders Act, which currently is under consideration in the Senate. Under HB 2386, mandatory supervised release would be extended to range from three years to the natural life of the offender based on the risk the sex offender poses to communities and families.