SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (NEXSTAR) — Two new members of the Prisoner Review Board were approved early Saturday morning by the Illinois Senate.
Rodger Heaton and Robin Shoffner will start their terms on May 1st as board members of the agency. Governor J.B. Pritzker appointed them temporarily on Friday and the Senate worked to confirm them overnight. Both candidates received unanimous support.
The board needs a simple majority of 8 members in the 15 openings on the board In order to hold general meetings. Before Heaton and Shoffner were appointed, the PRB only had six. The Senate voted in March to not confirm two long-term temporary appointees by the governor and a third temporary member resigned before being voted by the Senate.
Heaton previously served as the U.S. attorney for Illinois’ central district and as former Governor Bruce Rauner’s chief of staff. Shoffner held a subcircuit judge role in the Cook County Circuit Court system.
Senator Jason Plummer (R-Edwardsville) criticized the governor for keeping temporary board members for unconstitutional lengths.
“For over three years, Governor Pritzker sought to avoid oversight and accountability by allowing his controversial appointees to fulfill his agenda until even Democrats had enough of his gamesmanship,” Plummer said.
The governor sent a letter in March to both Plummer and Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines), chair of the Senate Appointments Committee, urging them to pass his appointees for the Board. He wrote how an understaffed PRB can lead to unsafe inmates can be released with little oversight.
“Without sufficient members, the PRB will be unable to continue to ensure that those who have violated the terms of their… parole, including those who have committed new offenses, will be returned to incarceration,” Pritzker said.
Illinois’ Prisoner Review Board reviews clemency and parole requests, as well as setting release conditions for prisoners, and alerting victims and their families before an inmate who committed a crime against them is released.