Weather Updates

Woman arrested 396 times may move to mental health facility

ShermaMiles mugshot

Shermain Miles mugshot

storyidforme: 52556874
tmspicid: 17350131
fileheaderid: 7824948
Article Extras
Story Image

Updated: December 20, 2013 11:13AM

The Chicago woman who has robbed and assaulted her way to 396 arrests may be released from prison earlier than November — that is, if she’s accepted into a state-approved mental health and substance abuse program.

Shermain Miles appeared before the Illinois Prisoner Review Board on Tuesday in Downstate Lincoln. Chairman Adam Monreal said the board received an update from Miles’ counselor, who said the 51-year-old woman has been “very cooperative and informed,” receiving mental health care while at the Logan Correctional Center, and is even doing some outreach activities with recent females who come into the prison.

Monreal’s goal is to ensure Miles is accepted into a program straight out of prison. She has submitted applications for several programs, one in Rockford and one in a neighboring state where the woman’s sister lives.

But one option was denied: “I did not recommend that she is paroled back out to the same [Chicago] ward where she assaulted the alderman (James Cappleman),” Monreal said. “I said I would not approve of that.”

Once Miles is accepted, the state must visit the facility and approve the program, ultimately making a final determination as to whether Miles can be paroled into the institution. The review board will meet with Miles for an update in August, Monreal said.

“Hopefully we can get her off the streets and keep her from becoming a repeat offender,” Monreal said. “That’s the goal.”

Miles’ last court appearance was in June at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in Chicago, where she pleaded guilty to assaulting Cappleman last August.

That was Miles’ last arrest. After a day of allegedly slapping, punching and generally harassing people on Broadway in Uptown, she is accused of chasing after Cappleman. That arrest landed her back in prison for a possible parole violation of a 2010 conviction for robbing a 75-year-old Bosnian immigrant at knifepoint.

The guarantee of a good program is enough for the review board to consider releasing Miles earlier than November, her projected release date.

“If she comes up with a parole site, parole plan and programming, between now and November, I would probably be open minded to releasing her, with the strict guidelines that she abide by the program, because truthfully, I can still — the prisoner review board has the ability to give or take away one year of good credit,” Monreal said. “Essentially I could lock her up for a year from the day of her violation. But, the goal is to get her services.”

Monreal said Cappleman wrote him a letter, thanking him for his support, and also pleading that Miles gets the services she needs when she’s released.

Reached by phone on Wednesday, Cappleman said Miles deserves a chance to succeed.

“I think Shermain exemplifies a problem that we see for the state of Illinois and that is a reason why we have a disproportionate amount of people in our prison system who have severe and chronic mental illness and ongoing alcohol and drug dependence,” Cappleman said. “It’s time we stop this revolving door of people going in and out of the prison system and get people the help they need so they can live their lives in a more productive manner.”

Since 1978, Chicago Police alone have arrested Miles 396 times, mostly on the North Side — under at least 83 different aliases. Those arrests include 92 for theft, 65 for disorderly conduct, 59 for prostitution-related crimes and five for robbery or attempted robbery.

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.