Death row no more: Inmates' sentences commuted

March 16, 2011 4:30:28 AM PDT
The Illinois Department of Corrections said all 15 of the state's current death row inmates have now received their letters of commutation from Gov. Pat Quinn.

Those letters officially convert the inmates' sentences to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Governor Quinn announced his intention to commute the sentences last week when he signed a bill abolishing the death penalty as of July 1. That left prisoners previous sentenced to death in a sort of life or death limbo.

An IDOC spokesperson says, as of now, there have been no physical changes to the formerly condemned inmates' status. They continue to be housed on what was death row at the state prison in Pontiac.

Soon, IDOC will consider moving some of the inmates off the cell block, into other facilities or giving them additional contact visits. Those privileges will be determined on a case by case basis, said the IDOC spokesperson.

The Illinois Department of Corrections denied an ABC 7 request to interview the inmates, citing sensitivity to their victims' families.