People v. Kastman, No. 127681 (Ill. 2022)
Nature of Case: In 1994, Defendant was found to be a sexually dangerous person and was committed to the guardianship and custody of the director of the Department of Corrections (Department) under the Illinois Sexually Dangerous Persons Act (Act). Defendant was granted conditional release from institutional care and subsequently filed a petition requesting that the director of the Department be compelled to provide financial assistance to cover his treatment costs and living expenses. In doing so, Defendant asserted that he was unemployed, disabled, and could not afford his $300 monthly treatment costs and the $1800 monthly rent for housing that complied with the “Sex Offender Registration Act” (SORA) and the numerous requirements of his conditional release.
The Director of Corrections intervened and opposed Defendant’s petition arguing that he had no continuing duty to provide for Defendant’s housing and treatment outside of the institutional setting.
The circuit court of Lake County granted the petition and ordered the Director to pay a portion of Defendant’s monthly expenses. Specifically, the Court ordered the Director to contribute $2413 per month toward Defendant’s essential expenses including rent, treatment, utilities, and medical copayments, and $500 toward his monthly living expenses. In so holding, the Court stated: ““[o]ne has to look at the big picture and make a determination as to how anyone can move forward from being actually confined at Big Muddy.” And “[i]t’s the Court’s hope that as he goes forward, Defendant will be in a better position to take on more of the responsibilities with regard to pulling his weight financially in the outside placement.”
The Director appealed and the appellate court affirmed. The Illinois Supreme Court subsequently granted Director’s petition for leave to appeal. On appeal, the Director argues that the circuit court did not have authority under the Act to require the Director to contribute to the treatment costs and living expenses of Defendant after he had been placed on conditional release.
Holding: The Illinois Supreme Court rejected the Director’s arguments and concluded that the Circuit Court has the authority under the Act to require the Director to contribute financial assistance to cover the treatment costs and living expenses of a “sexually dangerous person” on conditional release. In so holding, the Court noted that nothing in the language of the statute limits the Directors duties to persons housed in an institutional facility and notes that the term “custody” used in the Act extends beyond physical custody to include the care and control of a guardian. The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the appellate court.