Statewide and region-specific descriptions of typical probation sentences are summarized here,
including information on restrictions and surveillance of probationers, and court-ordered
The period of probation for a misdemeanor may not be longer than two years [730 ILCS5/5-4.5-
55(d), 730 ILCS 5/5-4.5-60(d), and 730 ILCS 5/5-4.5-65(d)]. The length of probation for a Class
3 or 4 felony cannot exceed 30 months [730 ILCS 5/5-4.5-40(d) and 730 ILCS 5/5-4.5-
45(d)]. The length of probation for a Class 1 or 2 felony cannot exceed four years [730 ILCS 5/5-
4.5-30(d) and 730 ILCS 5/5-4.5-35(d)]. A person who pleads guilty to or is found guilty of a
Class X felony is not eligible for probation [730 ILCS 5/5-4.5-25(d)].
On average, the sample of probationers were projected to serve 21 months (SD = 8.25) and
served an average probation length of 19.4 months (SD = 10.97). Researchers confirmed the
probation termination dates for 94 percent of probationers in the sample (n=3,303) in the fall of
2010. The remaining six percent of the sample were not included in the calculation of the
average sentence length (n=216).
Sentence length by offense class, offense type, and region
The average probation sentence length served for felony offenses was greater than for
misdemeanor offenses across all regions of the state, although the time served for felony
probation was slightly higher for the central region sample.
In terms of probation offense types, drug offenses had the longest average probation lengths
(21.4 months, SD=9.5), followed by sex offenses (20.9 months, SD=14.1).
The offense types most likely to be misdemeanors in this study, such as DUI and traffic offenses
had the lowest average probation lengths (17.1 months, SD=7.9).
The highest average probation length was observed for sex offenders in the southern region (31.9
months, SD=20.4). However, only four probationers were in this category.
The average length of probation served did not significantly differ between northern and central
regions (19.7 and 19.9 months, respectively), but probationers located in the southern region had
a lower average probation length of 17.3 months, due to a higher proportion of misdemeanants in
Table 9 provides detail on the average probation length served in each region, by offense type
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