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Judge Denies Emergency Order For Inmates Seeking New Parole Hearings

Harrison Chancy and Joseph Hurst
Illinois Department of Corrections

A Sangamon County judge has declined to give a group of Illinois prisoners a new parole hearing — at least for now.

The case has to do with a formal process for assessing how much of a risk certain prisoners pose. The Department of Corrections was supposed to have this risk-assessment tool in place by 2013. But three years later, it’s just now beginning to roll it out.

A pair of the state’s longest serving inmates have sued over the delays.

They are Harrison Chancy, age 57 now, but 19 when he was arrested for participating in a burglary in which the homeowner was shot in the head and later died of his injuries. Chancy maintains his innocence.

The other inmate is Joseph Hurst, age 72, who was convicted of the 1967 murder of a Chicago police officer. Both men are serving indeterminate sentences of up to 300 years.

Among their lawyers is David Shapiro, with the MacArthur Justice Center at Northwestern University’s law school. He spoke with reporter Brian Mackey:

Read more about the case, Chancy v. Illinois Prisoner Review Board, No. 2016-CH-7 (Sangamon County) at the MacArthur Justice Center. Circuit Judge John Schmidt's order is here.

Brian Mackey formerly reported on state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. Before that, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
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