IDOC Early Releases due to “Meritorious Good Time” ended

Posted: December 31, 2009 by lactoselazy in IDOC, Local Issues, Terrible Wrongs - Other Cases

Read most current information regarding status of  IDOC  Early Release & Good Time Credits here

Illinois law gives the State the ability to reserve imprisonment only for those individuals who require imprisonment or will benefit from it. During the past decade, Illinois has failed to exercise it’s discretionary power and has imprisoned many individuals who do not require a prison stay for rehabilitation. The resulting huge financial cost to Illinois taxpayers for “warehousing” offenders is becoming more and more apparent in this recession. The intent of the Early Release Program is good. The only people who should be in prison are those who are violent or who cannot be rehabilitated back into society. Quinn set up proper, careful guidelines to determine who should be eligible for “early release”. It is only the implementation of that policy that went wrong. Let us hope that the political “heat” Quinn faces doesn’t end his and Randle’s attempts to reform IDOC….

December 30, 2009

(Important: Read Page Right Column for Most recent news!)

Quinn says he’s ending controversial prison early release program

Posted by Monique Garcia at 2:23 p.m.; last updated at 4:23 p.m. with link to prisoner list

Gov. Pat Quinn announced today that he is ending a controversial prisons policy that accelerated good behavior credit for new inmates and led to some inmates spending just a few weeks in the state lockup.

The state now will require all prisoners serve at least 61 days before they can earn such credit, the governor said at a news conference in Chicago. The Illinois Department of Corrections also will provide prosecutors with at least 14 days notice before a prisoner can be released.

Quinn said he did not approve the early release program and thought it was “bad judgment.” The governor put the blame on Michael Randle, his prisons chief, but said he would not fire Randle.

“I intend to keep Michael Randle as director of corrections,” Quinn said. “I have told him in no uncertain terms that this was a big mistake and I am very disappointed that this occurred.”

Quinn also sought to place much of the blame on the state’s budget woes, saying Randle implemented the program as a cost-savings measure after lawmakers refused to pass an income tax increase.

But Randle said it was his responsibility to make sure budget cuts were carried out according to Quinn’s order that public safety not be compromised.

“There were mistakes made in judgment and the planning,” Randle said. “It was not implemented the way that the governor had directed, and for that, as director of this agency, I take responsibility.”

Of the 1,718 inmates who were released under the program, 56 have returned to prison. Of those, 48 violated parole terms and eight were arrested for new offenses, Quinn said today. Six were arrested for retail theft or drug offenses, one for drunk driving and one for domestic assault.The prisons agency this afternoon released a list of the prisoners who were released. You can view that list by clicking here.

The announcement came less than two weeks after Quinn picked a former judge to head up a review of the program in which hundreds of inmates were released early after they were awarded behavior credit, sometimes within weeks of arriving at prison.

Quinn named David Erickson, a senior lecturer at Chicago-Kent College of Law, to lead an evaluation of the program. Quinn suspended the program earlier this month following a news report that found some inmates with past convictions for drunken driving, battery and weapons violations spent just a few weeks behind state bars before being released. Many of the inmates also had served time in county jails.

Quinn has tried to ease concerns about the program by repeatedly stating his number one priority is public safety, but his Democratic primary challenger, Comproller Dan Hynes, has seized on the issue to question Quinn’s judgment and leadership.

Under the state program, dubbed “meritorious good time” release, Randle had the discretion to grant any inmate 90 days’ worth of credit bashed on their behavior while behind bars. An Associated Press report found hundreds of inmates were given this good-conduct credit immediately upon entering prison.

  1. hazel church says:

    also see article in the St. Louis Today


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