NEVILLE JUSTICE delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Justices Thomas, Kilbride, and Garman concurred in
the judgment and opinion.
1 Defendant, Elizabeth M. Clark, pled guilty to charges of
burglary and unlawful use of a credit card and was released
on bond pending the imposition of sentence. While awaiting
sentencing, defendant was found guilty by the circuit court
of violating section 31-6(a) of the Criminal Code of 2012
(Criminal Code) (720 ILCS 5/31-6(a) (West 2014)) for
knowingly failing to report to the Whiteside County Jail, as
required by her bail bond.
2 The appellate court found that defendant's failure to
report did not constitute an escape because she was not in
custody while on bond awaiting sentencing. 2017 IL App (3d)
140987, ¶ 11. The appellate court reversed the circuit
court, and we granted the State's petition for leave to
appeal (Ill. S.Ct. R. 315(a) (eff. Nov. 1, 2017)). For the
reasons that follow, we reverse the judgment of the appellate
court and affirm the judgment of the circuit court.
3 I. BACKGROUND
4 The record contains the following uncontested facts. On
October 31, 2012, defendant, who has a history of alcohol and
substance abuse, pled guilty in the circuit court of
Whiteside County to one count each of burglary and unlawful
use of a debit card. While awaiting sentencing, defendant was
released on bond so she could seek and receive substance
abuse treatment. Defendant was sentenced to 90 days in jail,
with credit for time served, followed by a term of 30
months' probation. As conditions of her probation,
defendant was ordered to satisfactorily complete substance
abuse evaluation and treatment, refrain from possessing or
consuming alcohol or other prohibited substances, submit to
periodic urine tests, and pay certain fees and fines.
5 In January 2013, the State filed a petition alleging
violation of probation. Defendant was taken into custody, and
the court found that defendant violated the terms of her
probation. In February 2013 she was released on a $50, 000
recognizance bond to receive treatment. On April 19, 2013,
defendant's probation was revoked, and she was
resentenced to 74 days in jail, time served, and a new
probation term of 30 months.
6 In July 2013, the State filed another petition alleging
violation of probation, and in September 2013, the court
found that defendant violated the terms of her probation. In
December 2013, defendant was taken into custody. On January
9, 2014, the circuit court released defendant on a temporary
recognizance bond of $50, 000. The court released defendant
into the custody of her father for transportation directly to
the White Oaks treatment center for inpatient substance abuse
7 Defendant successfully completed inpatient treatment at
White Oaks, and thereafter, on February 25, 2014, the circuit
court entered an order modifying the conditions of her bond.
Defendant's bond was modified to require her to directly
enter into the Margaret Stutsman Lodge, which is a halfway
house featuring an extended residential care program for
persons recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. Defendant
was allowed to leave the halfway house for purposes of
employment, medical needs, and 12-step program meetings. The
modified bond condition also required that upon her release
or discharge from the lodge, "for whatever reason
(including but not limited to withdrawal, discharge, or
successful completion of treatment), the Defendant must
immediately return to the custody of Whiteside County Jail
using the most direct route of travel and without delay or
8 On June 5, 2014, defendant left the halfway house but
failed to report to the Whiteside County Jail. That same day,
the State filed an application to increase defendant's
bond, and the circuit court issued an arrest warrant. On June
17, 2014, at the close of a hearing, defendant's April
2013 sentence of probation was revoked, and she was
resentenced on her original offenses. On the burglary
conviction, defendant was sentenced to three years'
imprisonment with 281 days' credit and two years of
mandatory supervised release. On the debit card conviction,
she was concurrently sentenced to one year of imprisonment
with 281 days' credit and one year of mandatory
9 On the day defendant failed to report to the county jail,
the State also filed an information charging defendant with
the offense of escape in violation of section 31-6(a) of the
Criminal Code, which is divided into two independent clauses:
one clause containing an escape from custody provision and
the other clause containing a knowing failure to report
provision. 720 ILCS 5/31-6(a) (West 2014). The State charged
that "defendant, having been convicted of the felony
offense of Burglary and Unlawful Use of Debit Card, knowingly
failed to report to the Whiteside County Jail as required on
June 6, 2014, in accordance with the terms and conditions of
her Temporary Recognizance Bond." Defendant surrendered
herself to the Whiteside County Jail on June 14, 2014.
10 The circuit court conducted a stipulated bench trial on
September 23, 2014, in which the court accepted the
above-recited stipulated facts. In the stipulation, defendant
admitted that after she left the Margaret Stutsman Lodge she
did not report directly to the county jail and acknowledged
that the conditions of her bond required her to do so.
11 Seeking acquittal, defense counsel argued, inter
alia, that because defendant was out on bond and was not
serving a prison sentence at the time she failed to report to
the county jail, this failure amounted to a violation of her
bond, rather than an escape. Counsel asserted that escape is
the unauthorized departure from custody and, since a
defendant who is free on bond is not in custody, there is no
custody from which to escape.
12 The prosecutor argued that the plain language of the
knowing failure to report provision does not require that a
defendant be "in custody." According to the
prosecutor, a convicted felon who knowingly fails to report
to a penal institution has committed the offense. The
prosecutor further argued that, because both of those
elements were satisfied in defendant's case, she was
guilty of violating section 31-6(a) despite the fact that she
had been released on bond.
13 The circuit court found defendant guilty of escape. In so
doing, the court noted that defendant had been convicted of
two felony charges and was awaiting sentencing for those
convictions. Further, the court observed that the terms of
her recognizance bond required her to return immediately to
the Whiteside County Jail after her discharge from the
halfway house. The circuit court determined that
defendant's knowing failure to report to the county jail
after leaving the halfway house constituted a violation of
section 31-6(a). Accordingly, the court found that the State
had satisfied its evidentiary burden, and the court convicted
defendant of the offense of escape. After denying
defendant's motion for a new trial, the circuit court
sentenced defendant to 30 months' probation, to be served
consecutively to the prison term she received for her
original convictions of burglary and unlawful use of a debit
14 On direct review, the appellate court reversed
defendant's conviction for escape. 2017 IL App (3d)
140987, ¶¶ 16-19. Relying on this court's
holding in People v. Campa, 217 Ill.2d 243, 259
(2005), the appellate court determined that, in order for a
convicted felon to commit the offense of escape, he or she
must first be in custody. 2017 IL App (3d) 140987, ¶ 11.
The appellate court drew a distinction between bail and
custody and focused its analysis on whether defendant was in
custody when she failed to report to the county jail after
leaving the halfway house. The court stated that a
"defendant released on bail or a recognizance bond is
not considered to be in 'custody' per the Corrections
15 The appellate court determined that defendant was not in
"custody" for purposes of the escape statute at the
time she violated the terms of her bond by failing to report
to the county jail after leaving the halfway house. The court
observed that, during the time defendant was out on bail, she
was no longer under the authority of the sheriff or the
Illinois Department of Corrections but rather was under the
authority of the circuit court. The appellate court also
observed that there was no requirement that personnel from
either the county jail or the circuit court transport her to
the county jail. Id. ¶¶ 13-14. The
appellate court held: "Because the State could not
establish that [defendant] was in custody, a requirement
inherent in the offense of escape, it could not prove she was
guilty of escape beyond a reasonable doubt."
Id. ¶ 16. The State appeals.
16 II. ANALYSIS
17 The issue presented in this case is whether the State is
required to show that a convicted felon was in
"custody" in order to prove that he or she violated
the failure to report provision in the second clause of
section 31-6(a) of the Criminal Code. 720 ILCS 5/31-6(a)
(West 2014). Resolution of this issue involves statutory
interpretation, which presents a question of law and is
subject to de novo review. People v. Smith,
2016 IL 119659, ¶ 15. For the following reasons, we hold
that the statute does not require the State to make such a
18 The primary objective of statutory construction is to
ascertain and give effect to the true intent of the
legislature. All other canons and rules of statutory
construction are subordinate to this cardinal principle.
People v. Jamison, 229 Ill.2d 184, 188 (2008);
People ex rel. Director of Corrections v. Booth, 215
Ill.2d 416, 423 (2005); People v. Botruff, 212
Ill.2d 166, 174 (2004); In re Detention of
Lieberman, 201 Ill.2d 300, 307 (2002).
19 A. Plain Language
20 The most reliable indicator of legislative intent is the
language of the statute, given its plain and ordinary
meaning. A court must view the statute as a whole, construing
words and phrases in light of other relevant statutory
provisions and not in isolation. Each word, clause, and
sentence of a statute must be given a reasonable meaning, if
possible, and should not be rendered superfluous. The court
may consider the reason for the law, the problems sought to
be remedied, the purposes to be achieved, and the
consequences of construing the statute one way or another.
Also, a court presumes that the General Assembly did not
intend absurdity, inconvenience, or injustice in enacting
legislation. In re Appointment of Special
Prosecutor, 2019 IL 122949, ¶ 23; People v.
Brown, 2013 IL 114196, ¶ 36; Botruff, 212
Ill.2d at 174-75.
21 Section 31-6 of the Criminal Code provides in part as
"§ 31-6. Escape; failure to report to a penal
institution or to report for periodic imprisonment.
(a)A person convicted of a felony or charged with the
commission of a felony, *** who intentionally escapes from
any penal institution or from the custody of an employee of
that institution commits a Class 2 felony; however, a person
convicted of a felony *** who knowingly fails to report to a
penal institution or to report for periodic imprisonment at
any time or knowingly fails to return from furlough or from
work and day release or who knowingly fails to abide by the
terms of home confinement is guilty of a Class 3 felony.
(b) A person convicted of a misdemeanor or charged with the
commission of a misdemeanor, *** who intentionally escapes
from any penal institution or from the custody of an employee
of that institution commits a Class A misdemeanor; however, a
person convicted of a misdemeanor *** who knowingly fails to
report to a penal institution or to report for periodic
imprisonment at any time or knowingly fails to return from
furlough or from work and day release or who knowingly fails
to abide by the terms of home confinement is guilty of a
Class B misdemeanor.
(b-1) A person in the custody of the Department of Human
Services under the provisions of the Sexually Violent Persons
Commitment Act under a detention order, commitment order,
conditional release order, or other court order who
intentionally escapes from any secure residential facility or
from a Department employee or any of its agents commits a
Class 2 felony.
(c) A person in the lawful custody of a peace officer for the
alleged commission of a felony offense *** and who
intentionally escapes from custody commits a Class 2 felony;
however, a person in the lawful custody of a peace officer
for the alleged commission of a misdemeanor offense *** who
intentionally escapes from custody commits a Class A
(c-5) A person in the lawful custody of a peace officer for
an alleged violation of a term or condition of probation,
conditional discharge, parole, aftercare release, or
mandatory supervised release for a felony *** who
intentionally escapes from custody is guilty of a Class 2
(c-6) A person in the lawful custody of a peace officer for
an alleged violation of a term or condition of supervision,
probation, or conditional discharge for a misdemeanor *** who
intentionally escapes from custody is guilty of a Class A
(d)A person who violates this Section while armed with a
dangerous weapon commits a Class 1 felony." 720 ILCS
5/31-6 (West 2014).
22 "The legislature has the power to declare and define
conduct constituting a crime and to determine the nature and
extent of punishment for it." People v.
Simmons, 145 Ill.2d 264, 269 (1991); accord People
v. Miller, 171 Ill.2d 330, 333 (1996) (observing that
"the legislature has wide discretion in defining crimes
and prescribing penalties for those crimes"). Here, it
is clear from the plain language of section 31-6 that the
legislature has forged a single offense of escape that can be
committed in a number of ways. The several subsections of
section 31-6 target distinct conduct and contain distinct
elements. See, e.g., People v. Price, 221
Ill.2d 182, 189 (2006); People v. Graves, 207 Ill.2d
478, 484-85 (2003).
23 As earlier noted, section 31-6(a) is divided into two
independent clauses separated by a semicolon, with the second
clause beginning with the word "however." The first
clause contains an escape from custody provision, and the
second clause includes a knowing failure to report provision.
The word "custody" appears only in the first
provision, which involves escape from the custody of a penal
institution or its employee. The word "custody" is
absent from the failure to report provision. "When the
legislature includes particular language in one section of a
statute but omits it in another section of the same statute,
courts presume that the legislature acted intentionally and
purposely in the inclusion or exclusion [citations], and that
the legislature intended different meanings and results
[citations]." Chicago Teachers Union, Local No. 1 v.
Board of Education of the City of Chicago, 2012 IL
112566, ¶ 24; see People v. Goossens, 2015 IL
118347, ¶ 12 ("It is well settled that when the
legislature uses certain language in one instance of a
statute and different language in another part, we assume
different meanings were intended."); People v.
Hudson, 228 Ill.2d 181, 193 (2008) (same). A court must
not depart from a statute's plain language by reading
into it exceptions, limitations, or conditions that the
legislature did not express. People v. Witherspoon,
2019 IL 123092, ¶ 24; People v. Casas, 2017 IL
120797, ¶ 18; Vincent v. Alden-Park Strathmoor,
Inc., 241 Ill.2d 495, 506 (2011).
24 Because the plain and unambiguous language of the knowing
failure to report provision of section 31-6(a) does not
contain a "custody" element, we will not presume
that the legislature intended to include such an element
therein. We will not assign the same meaning to these two
provisions of section 31-6(a) or engraft the custody element
of the escape from custody provision onto the failure to
report provision. See, e.g., Cassidy v. China
Vitamins, LLC, 2018 IL 122873, ¶¶ 21-22;
People v. Smith, 2016 IL 119659, ¶¶ 29-30;
In re Mary Ann P., 202 Ill.2d 393, 409 (2002).
25 In the case at bar, each of the two clauses of section
31-6(a), separated by a semicolon, targets distinct conduct
and contains different elements. The first clause
criminalizes the actual escape from the "custody"
of a penal institution or its employee. The second clause
includes a provision that criminalizes the knowing failure to
report to a penal institution or for periodic imprisonment.
Because the legislature used the word "custody" in
the first clause of section 31-6(a) but did not use the word
"custody" in the knowing failure to report
provision of the second clause, we conclude that the
legislature did not intend to require the State to prove that
a convicted felon was in custody before it could establish
that he or she violated the knowing failure to report
provision of section 31-6(a).
26 The plain language of the knowing failure to report
provision of the escape statute makes clear that the statute
is violated when two elements are proved: (1) "[a]
person is convicted of a felony," and (2) the person
"knowingly fails to report to a penal institution or to
report for periodic imprisonment." 720 ILCS 5/31-6(a)
(West 2014). We hold that the State is only required to prove
these elements. Unless the language of a statute is
ambiguous, a court should not resort to further aids of
construction and must apply the statute as written.
People v. Cherry, 2016 IL 118728, ¶ 13;
LaSalle Bank National Ass'n v. Cypress Creek 1,
LP, 242 Ill.2d 231, 237 (2011); Burrell v. Southern
Truss, 176 Ill.2d 171, 174 (1997).
27 B. Legislative History
28 However, defendant argues that "a close look at how
the legislature has amended [section 31-6(a)] over time shows
that the intended target of either clause of [section
31-6(a)] are those individuals in custody." We disagree.
Although the plain language of section 31-6(a) renders
discussion of its legislative history unnecessary, the
legislative history actually supports our construction.
29 Section 31-6 originally provided that an escape occurred
only when (a) a person convicted of or charged with a felony
intentionally escaped from the custody of any penal
institution or its employee, (b) a person convicted of or
charged with a misdemeanor intentionally escaped from the
custody of any penal institution or its employee, or
(c) a person in the lawful custody of a peace officer who
intentionally escaped from custody. Ill. Rev. Stat.
1961, ch. 38, ¶ 31-6. Each subsection prescribed a
specific penalty. Id. The 1970 revised Committee
Comments to section 31-6 explain as follows:
"Section 31-6 combines in logical sequence, with
appropriate penalties which are substantially the same as now
provided, the unrelated provisions found in [section 2807 of
chapter 23 on] escape and intent to escape from State
Reformatory for Women, [section 121 of chapter 108 on] escape
and attempt to escape from Illinois State Penitentiary, and
[section 228b of chapter 38 on] escape and intent to escape
from county jail. However, instead of relating the offense to
the place of confinement only, section 31-6 uses the term
'penal institution' *** and then relates the penalty
to the seriousness of the offense of which the escapee has
been convicted or charged." 720 ILCS Ann. 5/31-6,
Committee Comments-1970, at 419 (Smith-Hurd 2010).
31-6 remained substantially unchanged for many years. See
Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 38, ¶ 31-6; Ill. Rev. Stat.
1981, ch. 38, ¶ 31-6.
30 This court was required to construe section 31-6(a) as it
then existed in People v. Simmons, 88
Ill.2d 270 (1981). Simmons was committed to the Illinois
Department of Corrections for several felonies. He was
transferred from prison to the Peoria Community Correctional
Center. One day he was allowed six hours of "independent
day release" to go shopping. A correctional center
employee drove Simmons to a local shopping center and left
him unaccompanied. Simmons was required to phone in
periodically, and his brother was going to drive him back to
the correctional center. Simmons never returned from his
shopping trip, and he was eventually arrested in Davenport,
Iowa. Id. at 271.
31 Simmons was convicted of escape in violation of section
31-6 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 38, ¶ 31-6(a)) as
described above. Before this court, Simmons argued that he
did not violate section 31-6 because he did not commit
an" 'escape, '" which is prohibited, but
rather only a" 'failure to return, '" which
is not. He also argued that the correctional center was not
a" 'penal institution'" within the meaning
of the statute. Simmons, 88 Ill.2d at 272. This
court rejected both arguments.
32 We held that defendant escaped from the custody of the
correctional center. We attributed a broad meaning to the
word "escape" consistent with its legal and
ordinary usage. Id. at 273. We reasoned:
"The defendant was committed to the Department of
Corrections and sent to the Peoria Community Correctional
Center. However much the limits of his confinement were
temporarily enlarged, or the restrictions on his conduct
temporarily lessened, he was still legally in the
custody of the Center, and had a legal duty to submit to
that custody. When he exceeded the lawful limits of
his liberty, whether by stepping across the invisible
boundary around the shopping center or by standing still
while the boundary, with the passage of time, shrank to the
physical confines of the Peoria Community Correctional Center
itself, he escaped from the Center." (Emphases added.)
Id. at 273-74.
court also held that the correctional center was a
"penal institution" within the meaning of section
31-6(a). Id. at 274-75.
33 This court revisited the issue of escape from a penal
institution in two consolidated cases. People v.
Marble, 91 Ill.2d 242 (1982). Defendant Marble was
sentenced to imprisonment at the Cook County Jail with a
provision for work release at the jail's work release
center. He was allowed to leave the jail on work release but
had to return by 8 p.m. One day he failed to return.
Defendant Cole was sentenced to work release at the Peoria
Community Correctional Center. One day he violated the
conditions of his work release and failed to return. Each
defendant was subsequently apprehended and found guilty of
escape in violation of section 31-6(a) as it then existed.
Id. at 245-46. Following the reasoning of
Simmons, this court held that each defendant was
sentenced to a penal institution and that "a failure to
return from a temporary release may violate section
31-6(a)." Id. at 247.
34 Shortly after Simmons and Marble, the
legislature amended section 31-6 to codify that the failure
to return from furlough or from work and day release
constitutes escape. People v. Campa, 217 Ill.2d 243,
258 (2005); Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, ¶ 31-6.
35 However, as amended in 1983, section 31-6(a) did not
prohibit the knowing failure to report. Two years
later, the legislature addressed this gap. Introduced as
House Bill 332, Public Act 84-1083 (eff. Dec. 2, 1985)
amended section 31-6(a) to add the failure to report
provisions. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, ¶ 31-6. During
the legislative debates, Representative Koehler observed that
the statute permitted law enforcement officers to apprehend
persons who failed to return from furlough. However, she
explained: "But the law did not provide that that person
who did not show up for the first time of periodic
imprisonment, there was no mechanism whereby that
individual could... could be charged with an offense for
simply not showing up." (Emphasis added.) 84th Ill.
Gen. Assem., House Proceedings, Mar. 13, 1985, at 32
(statements of Representative Koehler). Representative
Cullerton likewise observed that if someone who was sentenced
to periodic imprisonment "showed up the first day but
didn't come back the second day, it would be an
escape." 84th Ill. Gen. Assem., House Proceedings, Mar.
13, 1985, at 33 ...