The opinion of the court was delivered by: Chief Justice Freeman
In this consolidated appeal, we are asked to determine whether the General Assembly violated the single subject clause of the Illinois Constitution (Ill. Const. 1970, art. IV, §8(d)) when it enacted Public Act 89-404 (the Act) (Pub. Act 89-404, eff. August 20, 1995). Defendants in the present case were sentenced in accordance with the "truth-in-sentencing" law contained in Public Act 89-404. As codified in the provisions of section 3-6-3(a)(2)(ii) of the Unified Code of Corrections, truth-in-sentencing makes defendants eligible to receive no more than 4½ days of good-conduct credit for each month of their sentences. 730 ILCS 5/3-6-3(a)(2)(ii) (West 1996). Prior to the Act's passage, persons convicted of certain crimes were eligible to receive one day of good-conduct credit for each day served in prison. See 730 ILCS 5/3-6-3(a)(2) (West 1994). For the reasons that follow, we hold that Public Act 89-404 violates the single subject rule.
On December 13, 1995, defendant, Gary Reedy, was convicted by a jury in the circuit court of Lake County of aggravated battery with a firearm (720 ILCS 5/12-4.2(a)(1) (West 1996)) based upon actions which took place on September 1, 1995. Reedy was sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment on January 18, 1996. On appeal to the Appellate Court, Second District, Reedy claimed, inter alia, that Public Act 89-404, which includes the truth-in-sentencing law under which he was sentenced, violated the single subject clause of the Illinois Constitution. The appellate court agreed, holding the Act void in its entirety and enjoining the State from enforcing the Act. 295 Ill. App. 3d 34. The State subsequently brought the instant appeal as a matter of right. 134 Ill. 2d R. 317.
On January 23, 1997, a jury convicted defendant, Daniel Wilson, of robbery, armed robbery, residential burglary, and two counts of home invasion as a result of events that took place on February 22, 1996. Consequently, the circuit court of Peoria County sentenced Wilson to consecutive, extended-term sentences of 40 years' imprisonment on the charge of armed robbery and one count of home invasion. On appeal to the Appellate Court, Third District, Wilson argued, inter alia, that the enactment of Public Act 89-404 was in violation of the Illinois Constitution. However, in an unpublished order, the appellate court followed its earlier holding in People v. Watford, 294 Ill. App. 3d 462 (1997), stating that a defendant has no standing on direct appeal to challenge the constitutionality of the Act. No. 4-97-0267 (unpublished order under Supreme Court Rule 23). This court granted Wilson's petition for leave to appeal. 166 Ill. 2d R. 315.
We consolidated these appeals in order to address the issues raised in both cases.
Initially, the State claims that both defendants are precluded from challenging the constitutionality of section 3-6-3(a)(2)(ii) on direct appeal. We observe that, on this issue of standing, there exists a split among the districts of the appellate court. See Wilson, No. 4-97-0267 (3d Dist.) (unpublished order under Supreme Court Rule 23) (denying standing on direct appeal); People v. Watford, 294 Ill. App. 3d 462 (3d Dist. 1997) (same); People v. Gooden, 296 Ill. App. 3d 205 (5th Dist. 1998) (same); but see Reedy, 295 Ill. App. 3d 34 (2d Dist.) (recognizing standing on direct appeal); People v. Pitts, 295 Ill. App. 3d 182 (4th Dist. 1998) (same). The State relies primarily on the case of People v. Watford, 294 Ill. App. 3d 462.
As in the present case, the defendant in Watford claimed that the truth-in-sentencing provisions of section 3-6-3(a)(2)(ii) violate the single subject rule. The court held that a defendant sentenced under the truth-in-sentencing law may not challenge the constitutionality of that law on direct appeal. Watford, 294 Ill. App. 3d at 464. The court in Watford reasoned that, since the Department of Corrections, and not the trial court, is charged with enforcing the truth-in-sentencing law, that law is in no way a condition of a defendant's sentence and is not within the scope of the sentencing proceedings. Watford, 294 Ill. App. 3d at 464. The appellate court concluded that, in order for a defendant to contest the constitutionality of the truth-in-sentencing law, the Department of Corrections must first be allowed to enforce that law by calculating the defendant's good-time credit in accordance with the truth-in-sentencing scheme. After such time, the defendant may file a habeas corpus, mandamus, or declaratory judgment action alleging that the Department of Corrections is determining his good-time credit pursuant to an act that is unconstitutional. Watford, 294 Ill. App. 3d at 464.
We are not convinced by Watford. As the appellate court in defendant Reedy's case properly noted, courts of this state have traditionally recognized that good-time credit is a part of every sentence. See, e.g., People ex rel. Colletti v. Pate, 31 Ill. 2d 354, 357 (1964) (good-time credit is "a part of every sentence"); People v. Baptist, 284 Ill. App. 3d 382, 387 (1996) (a defendant's compliance with conditions for good-time credit is a term of the original sentence). Numerous appellate court decisions have acknowledged that, since good-time credit is inherent in each sentence of imprisonment, trial courts may deem the possibility of good-time credit a factor in determining defendants' sentences. See, e.g., People v. Fetter, 227 Ill. App. 3d 1003, 1009 (1992); People v. Clankie, 180 Ill. App. 3d 726, 733 (1989); People v. Torgeson, 132 Ill. App. 3d 384, 389 (1985).
In cases involving sentences imposed pursuant to the truth-in-sentencing law, we are doubly persuaded that good-time credit is an important factor. This is evidenced by section 5-4-1(c-2) of the Unified Code of Corrections, which mandates that, during sentencing, the trial court must both instruct the public that the defendant is subject to the truth-in-sentencing provisions of section 3-6-3(a)(2)(ii) and notify the public of the actual period of time the defendant will likely spend in prison. 730 ILCS 5/5-4-1(c-2) (West 1996). The connection between the good-time credit scheme of the truth-in-sentencing law and sentencing hearings, therefore, is readily apparent. For these reasons we agree with the rationale expressed in People v. Pitts, 295 Ill. App. 3d 182 (1998):
"[A]lthough it is true that [section 5-4-1(c-2)] provides that a trial court's error regarding [truth-in-sentencing] provision[s] `may not be relied on by the defendant on appeal' [citation], that statement addresses a different matter than the constitutional question before us in this case. Here, the question is not whether the trial court correctly stated-and applied-the truth-in-sentencing provision; instead, the issue is whether Public Act 89-404 can constitutionally require the trial court to do anything regarding good-time credit." (Emphasis in original.) Pitts, 295 Ill. App. 3d at 190-91.
Indeed, in light of the fact that the sentencing courts were allowed to consider defendants' potential good-time credit in deciding their sentences and that defendants were sentenced under the truth-in- sentencing law, it would be unjust to hold that defendants lack standing on direct appeal to challenge the constitutionality of the very statute under which they were sentenced. Moreover, the State's proposed approach-allowing a defendant to bring an action challenging the truth- in-sentencing law only after the Department of Corrections enforces it-would result in constant and unnecessary piecemeal litigation. We, therefore, hold that a defendant sentenced under the truth-in-sentencing ...