File Photo – McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally | Photo: Matthew Apgar / Northwest Herald (pool)

A judge has ordered the Illinois Department of Corrections to provide the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office with records on the early release of prisoners following a lawsuit.

The McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office said they informally attempted multiple times to obtain records from the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) regarding its early release of prisoners.

The IDOC refused to provide the records and the state’s attorney’s office then filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the department.

The IDOC denied the request on “dubious grounds,” the state’s attorney’s office said.

The state’s attorney’s office filed a complaint in McHenry County Circuit Court for declaratory and injunctive relief.

The lawsuit sought to declare that IDOC had violated FOIA and to order IDOC to produce the records.

McHenry County Judge Michael Chmiel granted the state’s attorney’s office’s motion for summary judgment and ordered IDOC to produce the requested records.

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Chmiel also ordered IDOC to pay a $2,500 civil penalty to McHenry County after finding that the department had “willfully and intentionally, or otherwise in bad faith” violated FOIA.

“IDOC, under the current administration, seems committed to turning our prison system into a turnstile for dangerous criminals, regularly using every esoteric regulation at its disposal to lessen criminal sentences imposed by elected judges beyond any sense or reason, and then hiding the process by which this is all being done,” McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally said on Friday.

“We look forward to finally reviewing IDOC’s ‘justifications’ for these early releases and exploring all available legal options thereafter,” Kenneally said.